STUART LANCASTER has hinted Sam Burgess could pull on an England shirt as early as next month.
The high-profile rugby league convert only played his first game of union on Friday night and that was for just 17 minutes off the bench in Bath’s 25-6 win against Harlequins.
Yorkshireman Burgess came on at inside centre and touched the ball just twice but made an instant impact with one powerful run.
The ex-Bradford Bulls and England star, having been recruited from NRL champions South Sydney, has been touted as potentially featuring at the World Cup in 10 months’ time.
Asked if he thought the 25-year-old had any chance of being in contention for the Six Nations, which start against Wales in Cardiff on February 6, Lancaster replied: “It’s a big step but who knows?
“It was a good carry wasn’t it? He is one that will be of interest without doubt. It took about three men to stop him.
“He cleared a ruck out well, too, and he is a powerful man.
“It’d be nice to see him play a few more games and put his hand up. We’ll wait and see.
“If he plays well, there is a Saxons game isn’t there in January...?”
England’s second string do play Ireland Wolfhounds in Cork on January 31 and, given the national side’s continued issue with sorting an effective centre partnership, it seems Lancaster has not ruled out having a look at Burgess sooner rather than later.
However, on Friday, Bath coach Mike Ford said, though Burgess will continue at centre for now, he envisaged him being a “barnstorming (back-row) forward”, a position in which Lancaster’s England is not particularly deficient.