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Burgess joins select list of backs and forwards

Sam Burgess looked at home for Bath Rugby at flanker on Friday night – but he’s not the only Aviva Premiership Rugby player to have made starts among both the forwards and backs.

The cross-code star had predominately started life in rugby union in the centres, though his future could well lie in the pack after a powerful showing alongside Francois Louw in the victory over Newcastle Falcons.  
 
Positional switches are common in the early stages of a player’s career – Tom Youngs’ transition from centre to hooker one of the most notable examples.
 
But according to Premiership Rugby statistician Stuart Farmer, he is just one of nine players, alongside Burgess, to have lined up in both the pack and the backs as a starter in England’s top flight since the professional era began.
 
The first to have done so is former Saracens stalwart Kris Chesney who, thanks to possessing a rare combination of size and speed, clocked four appearances on the wing.
 
But it is hard to picture him ever flying up and down the flanks now as he went on to start 154 times among the forwards for Sarries.
 
See below for the complete list of players to have started as both a back and a forward in Premiership Rugby:
 

Player Club Forwards starts Backs starts
Kris Chesney Saracens/Bristol 154 4 (wing)
Dion O'Cuinneagain Sale Sharks 26 (back-row) 1 (wing)
Paul Hewitt Bedford 6 1 (wing)
Dave Scully Rotherham 1 (flanker) 12
Epi Taione Newcastle Falcons 30 22
Alix Popham Leeds 24 1 (centre)
Apo Satala Leeds/Gloucester 11 8
Tom Youngs Leicester Tigers 39 3 (centre)
Sam Burgess Bath Rugby 1 7

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