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Monday Jan 12, 2015

Sam Burgess big tackles on Ben Jacobs plus first try for Bath

Sam Burgess big tackles on Ben Jacobs plus first try for Bath
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Sam Burgess had a solid run out against Wasps this past weekend, scoring his first ever league try as well as making these two big tackles. He’s fast becoming a fan favourite and with play like this, you can understand why. Bath won the game 39-26.

Burgess was named Man of the Match after his best Bath outing yet, but that may have been a bit misleading. He did show flashes of power and brilliance but there were moments that show he is still aferall, new to the fifteen mad code.

The double smashing of Ben Jacobs was impressive and he carried the ball well. He also scored his first senior try, which he was pleased to have achieved.

“It was good. I am kind of glad to get the monkey off the back,” Burgess said post match.

“I was happy to get over for the try. George (Ford) found me with a great pass, and I managed to slide over. I am improving week to week, and enjoying a bit more time on the field. Overall, I am happy with the way things are going, and there are things to work on, as always.

“I am used to the pressure. I came from quite a high pressure environment in Australia, and I am learning the game week by week, but pressure is fine. I kind of knew that would be the case.”

Bath head coach Mike Ford acknowledged that Burgess still has a lot to learn.

“Sam played his best game but he is still a long way from where Sam Burgess needs to be.

“He is definitely on the right track. He didn’t do everything right. Straight away afterwards he came up to me and he said how he needs to get better defensively.”

Still very fresh in the game of Union, Burgess is clearly a work in progress but he’s getting a decent run at inside centre and with enough game time, you can be sure that the impact he makes each match will continue to become more and more significant.

You can view the try he scored, as well as the match highlights, on page two

46 Comments

  • boybath
    3:39 PM 20/01/2015

    @Stroudos I think thats exactly what we should do Bath are amazing to watch their backline is very SH and as such will suit the refs. That is unfortunately what we have to do these days suit the refs. I doubt rocco will play but Watson should be in the mix.

    Reply
  • drg
    7:34 PM 19/01/2015

    Yeh, I'd agree with that. I wonder how the 6N is going to play out, Wales v England first.. with Wales coming off the back of a big win against SA. Although that's 1 out of many..

    Reply
  • stroudos
    1:08 PM 19/01/2015

    Sod the halfwit media. Start with Ford-Eastmond-Joseph. For each match in the six nations, have Burrell, Tuilagi, Barritt, 36 or even Slammin Sam (in that order, fitness permitting) on the bench - bring him on after 50-60 mins and see what difference he makes. Then that's your impact replacement sorted for summer and the RWC.

    Reply
  • drg
    10:57 AM 19/01/2015

    I think the problem is largely the fact that you have a few 'randoms' you can throw into the mix. The likes of Tuilagi, if he is fit and isn't played and England lose something, the halfwit media will wonder why 'the big cannonball' wasn't played... because that's just what rugby is isn't it?? Big guys running at bigs guys? The team with the bigger guys will win? - Yes media, go back to football please...

    Reply
  • stroudos
    9:29 AM 19/01/2015

    PS Delighted to see "my England back line" scything through Toulouse at the weekend. Mr Lancaster, just get them in as a 10-12-13 unit - your biggest selection headache solved in an instant.

    Reply
  • stroudos
    8:23 AM 19/01/2015

    Yep, I remember reading that at the time. Fordyce is actually one of the sports writers that isn't a bell end and I agreed with a lot of this article. On Eastmond, he sort of makes the same point that I do: unfair on Eastmond to try him against incredibly tough oppo with Farrell who was struggling for form at 10, then drop him when you bring in his club teammate at 10. I didn't really understand the though process there at the time and I hope we get to see that partnership used properly in the 6nationsm

    Reply
  • drg
    8:52 PM 16/01/2015

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/rugby-union/30264033 This is the article Stroudos - about Eastmond

    Reply
  • drg
    8:49 PM 16/01/2015

    To reply to Stroudos first: I believe at a guess it was Eastmond... Although I can't recall exactly... definitely not Bananaman, I suppose I said a while back, but really I'm talking about last years rugby... To tag onto 10stone10... I believe we definitely have a similar attitude to the whole thing. I personally want to see Burgess shine, however perhaps I feel an air of responsibility to NOT join the bandwagon so as to give the bloke the best chance he can - I get the feeling that if I join in on all the hype with a really positive future outlook, things may indeed turn bleak.. I feel like perhaps we all need to sit back and say "yeh, when he turns out to be the decent player the world wants him to be whilst wearing an England shirt, then we'll give him a chance." - which is perhaps unfair (he needs to get a break before he'll get into an England shirt) but I guess I'd love to see him be hidden to the media, just playing good rugby and entering the international scene as a new guy... rather than the media pouncing on fairly 'average' things for most club players with what you can imagine would be titles like "the sidestep that MEANS Burgess is going to win the RWC for England" or some sort of thing like that. The bloke is going to play his heart out and play to the best of his abilities, the sooner the media lets him go and do that, make a cock up without them hanging him, make a good play without them lumping the world on his shoulders then the better... I say anyway...

    Reply
  • 10stonenumber10
    6:36 PM 16/01/2015

    precisely. Wasps Blitz Defence (along with Fraser Waters), Wales with Shaun Edwards, first seasons he took the helm defensively is probably the most watertight a line has been.

    Reply
  • 10stonenumber10
    6:34 PM 16/01/2015

    Lion, elephant, monkey, sheep, cow, pig. It was my first coach who showed me that well-known image of the animals standing by a tree with the question about climbing posed below it. We won't know until it has happened. I back Burgess. I hope others do, or if this goes tits up and he can't "climb the tree", he will UNJUSTIFIABLY be the media scapegoat for the entire world cup "failure"

    Reply
  • 10stonenumber10
    6:31 PM 16/01/2015

    Ayoola Erinle. Legend. I agree with the bath back line, and if Burgess is to be used, he will be around people with a season's experience rather than a few rainy days training in Surrey. A lot of sportscasters are bitter, I get a feeling some of them still think "they could do better given the chance today." Fact of the matter is, these guys do it professionally, we don't, the pundits don't, and the game has changed a LOT since the 90s heyday most commentators are speaking from. The same way kids in schools are being taught the 1980s game by overweight middle aged men who last played when Perms, Peroxide and Spandex were the order of the day in nightclubs. The same way I say every fly half to ever wear a red rose will now be compared to Wilko. Every cross code player will be judged by the SBW/SB standards. An elephant is no less of an animal because it can't climb a tree. Ask the monkey and elephant to uproot the f*cker, and we would have a different ball game completely.

    Reply
  • stroudos
    3:33 PM 16/01/2015

    Re centre brought in a while back and not given a look-in again... By a "while back", I wondered at first if you meant Matt Bananahanahan or even the twice-capped legend that is Ayoola Erinle... But you mentioned playing with a shakey off form Farrell, so perhaps you're referring to Kyle Eastmond? This is a bloke I desperately want to see given a proper opportunity to do his stuff for England. He offers the creativity and distribution skills that England need, in addition to a lethal step and serious acceleration. Seriously, despite being one of very few people banging the drum for Mr Burgess, I probably wouldn't pick him in my starting team if I were Stuart Lancaster. Instead I would lift and shift most of the Bath backline into England: 10 Ford, 12 Eastmond, 13 Joseph, 14 Rokodoguni. I would say these guys are all either the best option or certainly in the top 3 in their respective positions; add to that the benefit of familiarity playing alongside each other week-in week-out. Start with that as a unit, then tweak from there. As for the press, sports journalists are nearly all wankers. My theory is they're failed sportsmen, with massive chips on their shoulders and an irrepressible inferiority complex. This is why they enjoy taking down the people who have actually made it. Like Alistair Campbell once said about the political journalists - what they really want is to be inside parliament (on the sports field) making the laws (scoring tries), not standing outside in the rain describing what everyone else is achieving.

    Reply
  • drg
    1:29 PM 16/01/2015

    Utility backs comments are very close to my own. Rather than the press working with the national teams, they often appear to be the bane of them. As you said, the press will hype everything up, everyone will question why Burgess ISN'T included (if he isn't) etc, then when he doesn't prove to be the 'big kid' (as mentioned in my previous post) and run over everyone, he'll get hounded by the press and thrown on the scrap heap. Stroudos, don't get me wrong I have a huge like for Lancasters generally smiley overall attitude, but I posted a comment a long while back which linked to a BBC post about picking players to fit into the gaps whilst still playing out of form players. I can't give you the exact details, but it was pertaining to a centre that was picked because he was brilliant at club level, throwing him into an international shirt against a top team (NZ?) whilst England were still playing a shakey 'off form' Farrell... and because this centre didn't perform any magic he was never given a look in again. I believe the article then went on to say about how Farrell was swapped and the aforementioned centres club 10 came in, and still there was no sign of inclusion. I mean consider bringing in any tank of a second row for his first cap - lets say a player with the strength and size of Bakkies Botha, and then partnering him with a human noodle and then blaming the scrum failures on 'Bakkies mk2'....

    Reply
  • stroudos
    2:42 PM 15/01/2015

    Yes, not sure why I found your first post so objectionable now! In actual fact, if RD had the functionality I would've deleted the trolling accusation. You're right about the media hype and unrealistic expectations. But so far, I've found Lancaster to be pretty good at telling the pricks in the press to do one and having courage in his own convictions.

    Reply
  • stroudos
    2:33 PM 15/01/2015

    Don't blame me!

    Reply
  • 10stonenumber10
    1:13 PM 14/01/2015

    wannabes? experts? We are a bunch of opinionated amateurs with questionable knowledge, experience, bias, morals, and political correctness. Even an 'expert opinion' can cause a catastrophic mess, as proven in parliament and most middle-managerial levels within business... Just because someone is paid to do something and are 'professionals' within a field, it doesn't mean they know what they are doing. Look at Craig Doyle.

    Reply
  • drg
    10:36 AM 14/01/2015

    It's a bit like 'Sex Panther' 60% of the time it works everytime. ...dammit Stroudos!

    Reply
  • drg
    10:33 AM 14/01/2015

    I suspect you must struggle to read then.. there are not an awful lot of 'hates'... Or do you come from the land where you must never constructively criticise?

    Reply
  • drg
    10:32 AM 14/01/2015

    ...dafuq! ergo my ass! Still trying to work out how that crept in there.

    Reply
  • danknapp
    6:38 AM 14/01/2015

    Oooo, I love it when you talk grammar to me.

    Reply
  • feddderico
    4:16 PM 13/01/2015

    Description says: "scoring his first ever LEAGUE try". Wouldn't be "scoring his first ever UNION try"?

    Reply
  • jimmy23
    4:01 PM 13/01/2015

    Possibly had that as a target, but I think a bit beyond his reach. What you say about Sonny Bill Wililams having to force his way into a well established back line is true. But, and while I'm not saying England's back line is anywhere near as established (I honestly feel that's what's holding us back, our forwards are more than well settled), I'd much rather have players there who have a better understanding of the game and SOME experience in International Rugby. I think Burgess is just too much of a gamble, would much prefer to have him in the squad when he reaches his potentially destructive best.

    Reply
  • 10stonenumber10
    1:27 PM 13/01/2015

    I disagree. Attacking the ball is beneficial in both codes, will definitely make you think twice about getting an arm free for the offload.

    Reply
  • 3:01 AM 13/01/2015

    Ok just watched the match highlights. Burgess plays not even the most exciting highlights.

    Reply
  • 1:32 AM 13/01/2015

    The greatest prospect in any sport anywhere. If England were smart they would organize a test right away to give this guy some game time at the highest level! Err... He's made a few big plays and has finally scored. Let's see how he does again in the HC and for the Saxons before anointing him the second coming

    Reply
  • 10stonenumber10
    10:50 PM 12/01/2015

    He's kind of a big deal. It's actually pronounced Sam Be-ah-gess.

    Reply
  • 10stonenumber10
    10:46 PM 12/01/2015

    Positionally I agree, it will take some time, but in this clip both field and body position were exemplary. Whether it was Burgess targeting Jacobs, or two cases of right place at the right time, we will never know. I didn't see the full game so cannot comment further on his performance... but you can't put in hits like those unless you were on the right wavelength. Luckily with a season or two of NRL with the arm-wrap rule in place, his tackling technique is more than adequate and shouldn't cause too many unnecessary penalties. Must be sh*tty for the guy to be under a microscope. He has been around long enough to know how to handle the media hype though.

    Reply
  • stroudos
    9:26 PM 12/01/2015

    Ergo?? All right, Ron Burgundy! Vis-a-vis Burgess, he is the saviour I tell thee. He'll be to England rugby what Chris Moyles was to Radio 1 when he first joined.

    Reply
  • eddie-g
    8:39 PM 12/01/2015

    "Defensively he doesn't really need much coaching" I dunno. Every international union team these days seems to have a defensive guru plotting their various strategies. There's almost as much for Burgess to learn on this side of the ball as on attack. Very little for him to learn in terms of tackling technique, but defensive alignment and knowing when to tackle and when to cover support runners, that's going to take coaching and game-time.

    Reply
  • drg
    8:28 PM 12/01/2015

    Said it before, say it again... The hype ergo this video is too much for me to handle/accept. Don't get me wrong, he played well, read the moves, put in 2 hits... but without trying to agree with the very first 'troll' post... I kind of do agree... I like Stroudos point about how the onus SHOULD be on the ball carrier, but as it stands at the moment, it isn't... therefore Burgess put in a 'good tackle' but knocked the ball on - granted he can hardly be held responsible for the knock on... it's a bit like that sort 'was it a knock on or did he charge it down?' kind of question when someone gets a ball booted at them... So again.. Burgess is a very good player, I'd happily have him in my team, but the media hype around him is borderline ludicrous - you'd think there was talk of Lomu making a comeback. ...and again (again,again,again), lets say Burgess is the miracle boy of the England team... he's one bloke... (granted his height and weight says different)...this isn't schoolboy rugby where it's a case of 'pass it to the bloke with overinflated testosterone levels and a beard at the age of 12 and let him single handedly win the game'...

    Reply
  • flanker2712
    6:06 PM 12/01/2015

    In fairness, it looks like Jacobs may have got his pass away just as each tackle was made. Very difficult to see from the replay though.

    Reply
  • eddie-g
    5:29 PM 12/01/2015

    I agree with you; if rugby were simply about carrying and passing the ball, and smashing blokes in defence, then Burgess walks into an England squad. But at inside centre, to play there at international level, there's a whole lot to learn: tactical nous, reading the game, aligning in defence, being effective at ruck-time, even some sort of a kicking game is darn near essential. He is/was a great League player, and I think given 2-3 years, he's very likely an international Union player. Bath seem to think 7 or 8 will be his best position. But to be ready for the 2015 WC? Huge ask. At that level, at 12, Burgess potentially gets exposed the way Iestyn Harris was. Not for lack of skill, but for lack of familiarity with Union strategy and tactics. I just don't see how you can make it at 12 without this.

    Reply
  • stroudos
    5:13 PM 12/01/2015

    Having said that, Utility Back does raise a contentious point. I really disagree with this idea that if, in the process of tackling, you force the ball-carrier to drop the ball, that somehow that is a knock-on by the tackler. Which, as he points out, is exactly what happened here. I think the onus should be on the ball-carrier to protect the ball; if, as the tackler, you knock it out of his grasp that should count in your favour. The result here should have been that after Burgess successfully knocked man and ball backwards, the Wasps players should be on the back foot and scrambling. Maybe there needs to be some distinction between disrupting the ball during a tackle versus deliberately slapping the ball out of the ball-carrier's hands, but I really don't think this type of tackle should be penalised.

    Reply
  • stroudos
    5:03 PM 12/01/2015

    Just in case there was any doubt, it was Utlity Back's post that I felt was baity....

    Reply
  • stroudos
    5:01 PM 12/01/2015

    Well, I may have got a bit carried away....... ;) But let's be honest, he wasn't "good" at league, he was excellent. And, from the admittedly little I've seen so far, he's quite a bit above average already in union and seems to be improving rapidly. I don't mean to do a disservice to the existing players or those on the fringes who I'm sure are all working hard and dreaming of a world cup appearance. However, for a variety of reason/s, Lancaster et al have not settled on a combination of these proven centres you refer to, so that section of the team sheet is essentially a blank space waiting for someone to try to ink his name in. I'd still like to see Tuilagi and Burgess on the wings, with some distribution-oriented centres. The beauty of this tip is it's almost definitely not going to happen, so no-one can prove me wrong. :) A more sensible point is I feel Ford (if he continues the way he is) should definitely be England #10. Burgess playing alongside him consistently means you've already got at least one partnership in the backs sorted. In fact, I'd go a stage further and say, with the short amount of time left until the RWC, England should take advantage of well-established combinations and simply shift most of Bath's backs (Ford, Eastmond/Joseph, Burgess, Rokodoguni) wholesale into the side.

    Reply
  • stroudos
    4:33 PM 12/01/2015

    Although Burgess and everyone close to him continues to talk down his chances of playing in the world cup, the timing of his switch to union surely has that as a target. Difference with Sonny Bill is he had to force his way into a well established backline which had settled combinations and brilliant players in every position. The ABs had no reason to take a gamble on him sooner, whereas I feel Lancaster needs to roll the dice a bit if England are to have a chance at the world cup.

    Reply
  • 10stonenumber10
    4:20 PM 12/01/2015

    I don't think he will be used regularly by England. It is too close to the RWC, as much as I would like to see him make an impact, it may be one page too far in the playbook to base a game plan around a non playmaker. Subbed on with 20 minutes to go, he will shake up any opposition. Defensively he doesn't really need much coaching... "keep it low, use your arms, and don't forget to roll away". Speed is not an issue either (as seen here), the offside line is 10m closer to their ribcage than in League. He read 2 plays, and put in 2 brutal hits against one of the most experienced centres in the Aviva... Jacobs is no Conrad Smith, but he has been in the top flight North and South for the last 10 years.

    Reply
  • finedisregard
    3:11 PM 12/01/2015

    He should have switched codes a year earlier. As outstanding an athlete as he is and with all the progress he's made I'm not sure he'll be ready for the RWC. But wasn't the RWC the whole point?

    Reply
  • jimmy23
    2:28 PM 12/01/2015

    He's improving with every game, that's for sure, but still this obsession with him being in the England World Cup set up is ridiculous really. Let's remember that Sonny Bill Williams, who is a pretty useful Union player, spent 2 years playing in Toulon before he was ready to make a claim for the ABs. I have no doubt Burgess has the ability to become a great Union player but this hype around the speed of his development is unrealistic. Give the bloke a chance.

    Reply
  • bbrannigan
    2:18 PM 12/01/2015

    We Irish are not looking forward to having to deal with this guy, he is going to be very expensive in defensive terms. Even with big Robbie Henshaw coming into the backs, Burgess is going to be a challenge

    Reply
  • danknapp
    2:02 PM 12/01/2015

    Even if he has been average as a premiership player in Rugby Union, that's still pretty impressive at this point. I reserve judgement until he has had more time to bed into the sport. He will have weak areas and blind spots which you'd expect international quality players to target. Until he has played at that level we just won't know. I'd rather he didn't play international level now but prove himself in the future, than he was thrown into the international arena now and sank, thereby ending his future chances. Give him time.

    Reply
  • reality
    1:32 PM 12/01/2015

    Are you serious? There's a highlight video made every week where he makes a bog-standard tackle or takes the ball into contact. If that's the best they can come up with then I'd say he's not doing much to write home about. The media hype said he was going to be exceptional, and so far he just looks like a league convert who's out of his depth. Upright tackles may work against Premiership nobodies who are much smaller than him, but if he tries that in an international match it's probably not going to go well. Playing him in the Six Nations would be a huge insult to all the other centres who have actually proved their worth and shown they're good enough. If the coach told me I missed out because they wanted to try someone who was good in another sport but who was completely average in rugby union then I'd be livid.

    Reply
  • stroudos
    1:03 PM 12/01/2015

    You'll struggle to find two better-executed rugby union tackles. So far he's living up to, and maybe even surpassing, the media hype. More importantly the bloke himself is staying grounded and those closest to him are helping to manage everyone's expectations. Despite their efforts, I reckon Burgess is going to be a massively influential part of England's world cup team. He's obviously confident enough playing sport at the highest level - with Manu Tuilagi unlikely to be fully fit in time for the six nations, I say get Sam in and give him some international game time asap. I know they're lining him up for Saxons duty, but while that would make sense for someone with less experience in Burgess's case, the sooner the better.

    Reply
  • mozz87
    12:53 PM 12/01/2015

    Must try harder!

    Reply
  • stroudos
    12:44 PM 12/01/2015

    A pretty piss-poor attempt at trolling. Never mind.

    Reply
  • mozz87
    12:14 PM 12/01/2015

    Jeez mun, give the boy a chance, he only started learning the game a couple of months ago! Got at say, I am liking the upper body rugby league style tackles, when he really gets to grips with wrapping up and holding the man up he's going to do some damage and effect some turnovers with the upper body strength of a league forward.

    Reply


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