Bath to decide where to play 'megastar' Burgess
February 18, 2014
Sam Burgess excelled for England at rugby league and will now target a spot in the 2015 World Cup squad © PA Photos
Mike Ford is adamant Bath will call the shots over Sam Burgess as the club have financed the deal to bring the rugby league superstar across to union.
Bath have reportedly parted with £270,000 for Burgess and he will arrive on a three-year contract in October. Talk has already begun of whether Burgess will be able to force his way into the 2015 World Cup squad but Ford is adamant Bath will have complete say over his development.
There was original talk the deal was part-funded by the Rugby Football Union but Ford has confirmed Bath have bankrolled the deal while also saying they will build their team around the "megastar" recruit.
"He's our player, Bruce has financed the deal, he's our player and we'll decide, when the time's right, where he plays, and we'll develop him the way we want," Ford said. "It's fantastic for us. I feel this is the best place for Sam to make the transition.
"We'll figure out his best position pretty quickly, but we're quite relaxed about that for now. Obviously he's world-class, and the saga and the way we got him was pretty satisfying as well, it wasn't easy by any stretch.
Ford added: "We think it's a huge signing, a major coup. The kid went to Australia when he was 19, nobody does that, nobody. He went over as a 19-year-old and in four years has become arguably the best player in that competition: he's a megastar in the NRL.
"He wants to come to a club where he can make a huge difference. When I spoke to him I convinced him this was the right environment for his transfer to be as quick as possible."
Ford revealed his son, George Ford, and ex-league star Kyle Eastmond are already working on a game plan with Burgess though the club are yet to decide where he will play.
"He won't be Francois Louw no matter how long he's in the game," Ford said. "He won't be a guy who steals the football on the ground and can do all that dog work.
"What he will be is Sam Burgess: he'll be able to carry, tackle, pass through the line, pass before the line, smash people, be our talisman, be our leader, be able to do all the things he's been doing for the last few years.
"There are 150 rucks in a game, 75 of those he'll be smashing someone, and the other 75 he'll probably be carrying, and smashing someone. So that's the exciting thing for me, to get him on the field to do what he does.
"And with George there and Kyle there, the two, they are exchanging texts and telephone calls those three at the moment, devising some sort of move or something."
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