Robinson Backs Burgess To Shine

Sam Burgess has been sold the dream of winning the World Cup just like Jason Robinson was, and England’s most successful cross-code convert sees no reason why the Bath man cannot follow in his footsteps.

Burgess swapped the beaches of Sydney and hero status with Russell Crowe’s Rabbitohs in order to take up the 15-a-side code with Bath last year, and is part of national boss Stuart Lancaster’s training squad ahead of the World Cup.

The 26-year-old has been training at centre with England at their training camp in Denver – despite producing his best rugby for Bath as a flanker.

Debate will continue to rage about his best position, but Robinson knows that Burgess will do whatever it takes to make good of his switch over the divide.

“As a big name, you are under the spotlight massively when you move,” Robinson told Press Association Sport.

“For me, things went so fast after lots of people said ‘can he make it?’ When I look at my own journey, I made the England team in three months and then a Lions tour in four, so it can be done.

“The good thing about Sam is that he has a good attitude, he will be working hard and has so much to learn.

“There are some similarities in our switch and I understand what he will be going through. He’s made great progress so far and the fact he’s in the training squad is an achievement but knowing him he’ll want to play in a World Cup.

“That’s why I switched; Clive Woodward sold it to me about the World Cup in 2003 and now I am celebrating that with other people, 12 years on. Sam will want to be the same.”

England coach Andy Farrell says he and head coach Stuart Lancaster believe Burgess can play at 12, while club boss Mike Ford likes Burgess in the pack.

Robinson – an out-and-out speedster whose position was never in doubt – believes the ex-Bradford Bull can play in the centres.

“It’s hard for him in many ways because they’ve not decided his position 100 per cent,” he added.

“For me it was a case of, ‘I’m a winger so I will play wing or full-back’. For him, he was a forward in league and there’s been a lot of chopping and changing. There is quite a difference between a forward in league and union, it’s like chalk and cheese.

“But I personally think centre would be his best position, to try and keep it simple for him. He’s got a reputation as a strong runner, he likes to run at and over people and I think it would be very effective to use him in that way.”

And, even if his efforts do not secure him a spot in Lancaster’s party, Robinson believes the door will not be closed.

“In every World Cup there tends to be a few injuries, so even if he’s not in the final group there’s nothing to say he won’t get a shot during the World Cup,” he said.

“It’s good for England to have lots of different options.”

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