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Burgess wants no. 12

Fox Sports
Sunday, August 10, 2014

SAM Burgess has his heart set on playing at inside centre when he makes the switch to rugby, but Dave Dennis reckons the Englishman should reconsider.

After four years with South Sydney, Burgess will join Bath at the end of the NRL season to begin his rugby career.

And while Dennis has no doubt Burgess will be able to make the transition, the Waratahs skipper believes he is better suited to the forwards.

"We were talking earlier about where they're going to play him and he mentioned they might want him to play at 12, inside centre, but I reckon he would make a fantastic No. 8," Dennis said.

"He's that type of guy who is so professional and talented that he'll make it at any sport.

"I think he will be good. I've watched him play for a number of years here at the Rabbitohs and he's an extremely tough guy. He's physical, he's got some great ball skills and he's a really good athlete, so I think he'll make the transition well."

But if Burgess is determined to play at centre, Dennis says there is no better example to follow than Sonny Bill Williams.

The Kiwi international has made the switch between codes look like a breeze and, like Burgess, he will be a rugby player next year after two seasons with the Roosters.

"If you look at a guy like Sonny Bill Williams, obviously he is coming back next year, he's probably a good guy to look at in terms of Sam being a forward and playing in the backs," Dennis said.

"Traditionally the crossover comes from guys like Lote Tuqiri or Israel Folau, in similar positions at fullback or wing in league to fullback in union. It's a bit tougher for Sam going from a forward in league to a back in union, but Williams seems to do it with ease.

"But I do think he will bring his own style and his own way of playing to the game of rugby."

Dennis and Burgess had an opportunity to catch up at an anti-doping event at Redfern Oval on Wednesday, where Burgess told Dennis he had taken a lot of interest in the title-winning Waratahs this season.

Dennis, who is recovering from a knee injury, hopes to be part of the Wallabies' World Cup plans next year, where he could potentially come up against Burgess.

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