Burgess targeting 2019 RWC

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Bath coach Mike Ford revealed that Sam Burgess still has aspirations to play for England at the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

The rugby league convert has been highly criticised for his part in the England's failed World Cup campaign, which saw the hosts bundled out before the quarter-finals.

While Burgess was picked a centre for the crucial match against Wales, he has since told Ford – his coach at Bath – that he wants to focus on playing as a flanker.

"Proving he is an international back-rower is the big challenge now for Sam," Ford told the telegraph.co.uk. 

“He's always been a No 6 for us, no question. We've talked about the next time the England squad gets selected, his goal's got to be to be there as a six.

"The last conversation I had with him he was going to extend his contract with us and he wanted to go for the next World Cup. He is going to play for us for the next few years. He loves rugby union, he is settled in Bath and he knows he is a six.

"He said to me, 'I know I am a six'. He enjoys being a six, he enjoys the game better because he is more involved.

"We've said, 'Come back to Bath, carry on playing well'. We have an unbelievable run of fixtures coming up, we have Toulon, Leinster, Leicester, Northampton and Wasps twice.

"If he can play six in those games, against the best in Europe, I am sure England will have a look at him in that role. I am sure he'll break into the international squad as a six. We will no doubt show everyone he is a back row, not a centre."