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Lancaster upbeat over Burgess' union future

2015-10-06 20:35
Sam Burgess (Gallo)

London - England coach Stuart Lancaster said he expected cross-code convert Sam Burgess to stay in rugby union amid speculation that Burgess could return to rugby league with Leeds Rhinos.

Burgess made just one start and two replacements appearances as England were kicked out of the World Cup with a 33-13 defeat by Australia at Twickenham last weekend.

That followed a 38-25 loss to Wales in the 'Pool of Death' and meant England became the first World Cup hosts to fail to reach the quarter-finals.

England's early exit piled pressure on Lancaster including criticism of the decision to fast-track Burgess into the England set-up barely 10 months after he had bowed out of league with a man-of-the-match display as the South Sydney Rabbitohs won Australia's NRL Grand Final.

Burgess, 26, was not included in the matchday 23 for England's final Pool A match against Uruguay in Manchester on Saturday.

That led to increased speculation that Burgess was poised to return to league. But Lancaster said he had heard nothing about Burgess ending his three-and-a-half year contract with English union side Bath.

"I've not had any conversations with him about a move to rugby league at all," Lancaster said Tuesday

"Genuinely, 100 percent I didn't know that story was out there. My last conversation with him was about him going back to Bath. He can't wait to get stuck into the Premiership.

"He feels he's made good strides as a player and he wants to continue to improve. Bath will be delighted to have him back and I can't see anything changing in that regard," Lancaster added.

However, bookmakers Sky Bet announced they had closed their book on Burgess, born in Dewsbury near Leeds, returning to league with the treble-chasing Rhinos.

"We received a number of requests on our Twitter account for Sam Burgess to sign for Leeds Rhinos shortly before and after England lost to Australia," Sky Bet spokesman Jordan Fiddes told the Yorkshire Post.

He said a series of bets came in and added: "We've since taken the market down in case some people know something we don't!"

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