Burgess 'sees bigger picture'

Sam Burgess' cross-code switch is about more than just making the next World Cup, according to Andy Farrell.

League star Burgess is targeting a place in the England squad for 2015 after signing a three-year contract with Bath from next season.

And England coach Farrell is well-placed to assess Burgess' chances of fulfilling his ambition - he joined the union ranks in 2005 and went on to represent his country at the 2007 World Cup.

Farrell told Sky Sports News he agrees with the assessment of England boss Stuart Lancaster, who predicted on Monday Burgess would face a real challenge to master the intricacies of union back play in such a short time.

But the former dual-code international said: "There's a bigger picture.

"Sam's committed to Bath for three years and he sees that bigger picture - ie the tour to Australia in 2016, the 2017 lions tour etc.


"That excites him a lot, but he certainly is a competitive animal. He knows the time constraints on making the 2015 World Cup, but he'll be trying his damnedest."

Burgess has spent the past four years in Australia's NRL with South Sydney Rabbitohs, whose current boss is former Wigan coach Michael Maguire.

Farrell said: "Michael Maguire made a big impact at Wigan and a massive one in the NRL, which is a super-hard competition.

"Sam's game under Michael Maguire has developed massively - his game understanding, his lines of running, his support lines etc.

"It's one thing having all that in your locker, it's another understanding the rules and the feel of the game (union) itself.

"Sam will need to do a lot of hard work early doors to get his instincts right so he can bring his talent on to the field. A three-year deal shows how serious he is to make a standing within the game."