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Rugby league convert Sam Burgess rated an outside chance for next year's Rugby Union World Cup


Stuart Lancaster, the England head coach, acknowledged it was "unrealistic" for Sam Burgess, the union code's latest capture from rugby league, to challenge for a place in the red-rose squad before the summer of 2015.

Burgess, who will join Bath from South Sydney Rabbitohs this autumn at the conclusion of the league season in Australia, is therefore an outside bet to make the cut for next year's World Cup, despite the short odds offered by a variety of bookmakers.

Bath are currently shouldering the whole financial burden, including a transfer fee estimated at around £270,000. However, the Rugby Football Union may make a contribution, depending on the outcome of discussions between Ian Ritchie, the chief executive at Twickenham, and the remaining 11 Premiership clubs, who are not thought to be wild about the idea of one team – and an unusually wealthy team at that – receiving extra help from the governing body.

"I believe Sam's skill set is transferrable across codes but I'm certainly not saying he'll be fast-tracked by England," Lancaster commented.