Bath select a team full of England caps and Sam Burgess
Bath’s selection for there match against the Leicester Tigers for Sunday the 4th January’s showdown at Welford road would be exactly the selection Stuart Lancaster, England head coach, would want to see in such a big clash.
Bath are fielding six players that represented England in their Autumn internationals, which will give Lancaster an opportunity to take a look at them as the England coach prepares for the upcoming Six Nations Championship.
For Leicester Lancaster will be interested in seeing how Geoff Parling goes although its more about Parling trying to fight his way back in, after Dave Attwood, Courtney Lawes and George Kruis did so well in the Autumn, than Lancaster searching for a second rower.
As much as Lancaster will be looking at the likes of George Ford and Dave Attwood, he along with the rest of the English rugby public will be intrigued to see how Sam Burgess fares.
Rugby League converts don’t always prove to be successful. Andy Farrel was a legend in the 13 man code but never quite made it in Union. Lesly Vainikolo was another that never really made it but the man that Burgess keeps getting compared with did.
Sonny Bill Williams is probably the only player on the planet that could keep an in-form Ma’a Nonu out of the All Black team. Having huge success in both codes and currently back playing union, he is an athlete to be admired.
If we compared the stats of Burgess and Williams from the NRL where they both plied their trade before switching to union. It shows that Burgess in the 2014 season made more running metres , 2887m, than Sonny Bill, 2281m, more tackles more line breaks too.
It is not just Burgess’s physical attributes that gets everyone excited it is stats like these compared to Sonny Bill who himself is a sensational player.
The match itself promises to be a tough encounter. Leicester will be smarting from the drubbing they received when visiting the Recreation ground back in September losing 45-0. With the pack once again starting to look ominous Leicester’s power game is showing signs of returning.
Dare I say it but for the first time since maybe 1994 Bath go to Welford road as favourites to win this encounter.
You’ll be able to listen to live commentary at premiership rugby
Bath 1.Paul James 2 Rob Webber 3 Dave Wilson 4.Stuart Hooper (captain) 5.Dave Attwood 6.Matthew Garvey 7.Francois Louw 8.Carl Fearns 9.Chris Cook 10.George Ford 11.Matt Banahan 12.Kyle Eastmond 13.Sam Burgess 14 Horacio Agulla 15.Anthony Watson
Leicester 1.Marcos Ayerza 2.Tom Youngs 3.Fraser Balmain 4.Graham Kitchener 5.Geoff Parling 6.Jamie Gibson 7.Julian Salvi 8.Jordan Crane (captain) 9.Ben Youngs 10.Owen Williams 11.Miles Benjamin 12.Anthony Allen 13.Vereniki Goneva 14.Blaine Scully 15.Mathew Tait