Ford rules out Burgess return to league

2015-10-29 14:25
Sam Burgess (Gallo)

London - Bath head coach Mike Ford on Thursday expressed confidence that code-switching England international Sam Burgess will not return to rugby league despite a disappointing experience at the World Cup.

Burgess, who has two years left on his Bath contract, is taking a break in Spain amid reports he is considering a return to his former league club South Sydney Rabbitohs in Australia.

But Ford said that that the 26-year-old was due to return to training with Bath next week and dismissed suggestions he might walk away from union.

"Last week Sam came back into training because initially that's what he wanted, but then he did and he didn't quite feel right," Ford told BBC Radio 4.

"We decided to give him time off there and then, which means that he's gone away to get refreshed and will be back in training on November 2.

"There are no dramas here. Everyone has put two and two together, seen him sitting next to (England rugby league coach) Steve McNamara watching his brother play rugby league."

Asked if he was 100 percent confident that Burgess would stay at Bath, Ford replied: "Yes. I've spoken to Sam many times. We've talked about him coming back to Bath, rolling his sleeves up and playing six for us."

Burgess was a contentious selection for England's World Cup squad, having only made his international debut in August after switching codes late last year.

He was selected by coach Stuart Lancaster at the expense of the more experienced Luther Burrell, but despite impressing against Fiji, he failed to make an impact as the hosts went out in the group phase.

Ireland centre Gordon D'Arcy gave a withering critique of his displays in an Irish Times column, accusing Burgess of embarrassing his team-mates and saying he "doesn't know how to play inside centre".

Complicating matters for Burgess was the fact he played at number 12 for England despite having operated as a blindside flank, and Ford remains convinced that his future lies in the pack.

"Sam's got a three-year contract, there are two more years left on that and this is the time when he becomes a better rugby union player," Ford said.

"Everything we've spoken about is the future, about playing well for Bath and playing in the Champions Cup. And then potentially getting him playing for England in the Six Nations at six and if not, then on the end-of-season tour to Australia.

"The plan is for him to come back to training on Monday and we can't wait to have him back."

Read more on:    sam burgess  |  rugby


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