Matt Garvey insists Sam Burgess will go from strength to strength after notching up his first try in rugby union in Bath United’s win over London Irish A on Monday night.
The former England rugby league forward has played at centre in the first XV’s last four fixtures since switching codes in October – including last weekend’s Aviva Premiership Rugby win over Gloucester – but lined up as blindside flanker in the A League.
The 26-year-old, who had already had a score ruled out after he was adjudged to have been held up on the line, finally got his name on the scoresheet just before the break with Bath going on to win 44-5.
Bath head coach Mike Ford has previously said Burgess may be better suited to the back row, with the A League game presenting a chance to see what he could do.
And forward Garvey, who was in the crowd on Monday night, believes Burgess can flourish given time, especially with the likes of South Africa flanker Francois Louw on hand to dispense advice.
“I was down watching the A-league last night and it was a good performance from the boys,” said Garvey.
“For Sam it would have been a huge relief for him to get that first try. People are watching him, and from the outside they expect it to click almost immediately but it will happen over time, not from the outset.
“He is pushing hard and it will not be too long until he is up there. He is keen to learn, he is always around Francois who is not a bad player to be learning from really. I still ask him questions myself about playing in the back row.
“It was a great result from the boys all round and shows the strength that we have here.
“The club is a great place to be at the minute, the boys are all pulling in the right direction and the competition is really tough but that is only a good thing.”
Garvey’s Bath team are currently second in the Aviva Premiership Rugby table behind champions Northampton Saints and boosted their standing with a 39-16 win over rivals Gloucester.
The former London Irish man stepped off the bench to touch down twice, rounding off what had been a successful few days after signing a new contract at the club.
“It was great to win the derby, it was a huge result especially with it being an away fixture,” he added.
“From a personal point of view, to come off the bench and score, which is quite rare for me, was great.
“My dad said to me it was a great way to mark signing my new contract. I’m really happy to have signed.
“Me and my family and extremely settled here, it’s a club I want to be a part of and it’s a club that’s going in the right direction. It’s a beautiful city and place to live.”
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