Ford takes aim at Burgess

Bath head coach Mike Ford says Sam Burgess should not have been picked in England‘s 2015 Rugby World Cup squad and that the 27-year old found changing codes much harder than he anticipated.

Burgess spent a year in rugby union, playing 21 games for Bath and five for England, before returning to rugby league with South Sydney.

His former coach Ford believes he was not ready for the international tournament that was won by New Zealand.

“He shouldn’t have been picked in the World Cup squad in the first place,” Ford told The Daily Telegraph.

“He couldn’t get in our team at centre and there he was starting against Wales.”

“If there had ever been a share between Union and club, then we might not have signed Sam as we didn’t ever see him as a centre that would suit our style of play,

England lost control of the signing of Sam and, with it, a direct say in where he would play.

“For us, he was a back-row forward. He wouldn’t have got in our midfield, where we had Kyle Eastmond and Jonathan Joseph.

“Of course, he did play there for us at the start, but that was because Joseph was a surprise call-up for the Six Nations. But for the last eight games of the season, Sam was in the back row for us, including the Premiership final.”

Ford played as a scrum-half for Wigan, Oldham, Castleford, South Queensland, Wakefield and Warrington from 1983 to 1998.

The 50-year old represented Great Britain twice and England once, and became coach of Bath in 2011.

Ford described Burgess as used to being “the Pied Piper figure in league” and couldn’t handle that he might not get the same kind of recognition in the 15-man code.

“Sam came to tell me that he wasn’t sure if he was enjoying union enough, that he missed his family [in Sydney], that he had a short career and that he wanted to make sure that he enjoyed it,” Ford told The Daily Telegraph.

“I told him that he was just suffering a World Cup hangover and to go away and think about it all. He did, and he went back to league.

“He had found it much harder than he thought. He was used to being the Pied Piper figure in league and maybe he figured it would soon be the same in union. It wasn’t.

“Sam realised that it was a major project, and perhaps that he might never get the recognition he enjoyed in league. So, back he went. It was very disappointing.”

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