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Rugby league stars who struggled after switching codes

Published 05/11/2015

Andy Farrell, now a member of England's coaching staff, also flopped after switching codes
Andy Farrell, now a member of England's coaching staff, also flopped after switching codes

Just a year after making a big-money move to Bath, England's dual-code international Sam Burgess has decided to return to rugby league following an unhappy World Cup campaign.

The former Bradford Bulls forward opted to move back to South Australia after failing to adapt to union. Here, Press Association Sport looks at four players who, along with Burgess, flopped when it came to the 15-man game.

SAM BURGESS

Much was expected of Burgess after making the high-profile move from South Sydney Rabbitohs to Bath. Despite less than a year in the game, Burgess was controversially selected for the England 2015 World Cup squad and became a scapegoat for many after their dreadful pool-stage exit. He has now opted to move back to Australia to be with his family.

ANDY FARRELL

Farrell was seen as one of the key figures behind Burgess' rapid rise in rugby union, but things did not work out well for him either. Farrell made the move from Wigan Warriors - where he won a host of individual awards and honours - to Saracens and was subsequently selected for the 2007 World Cup. After playing in the drubbing to South Africa, Farrell played just once more as England reached the final before retiring with just eight caps to his name.

LESLEY VAINIKOLO

'The Volcano' was a prolific try-scorer at every level he played at in league. The Tonga-born winger scored 149 tries at Bradford Bulls and played 12 times for New Zealand, before moving to play for Gloucester. He scored five on his debut in union, but after being fast-tracked into the England side, he failed to make an impression in his five appearances.

IESTYN HARRIS

After breaking into the Leeds Rhinos team and being made captain at the age of just 21, Harris looked set to be a huge star when he switched codes to play for Wales in 2001. He enjoyed some success, playing 25 times for his country including the 2003 World Cup, but returned to play league after just three years, signing for Bradford.

HENRY PAUL

Paul's long career saw him become not only a dual-code international, but also represent two different nations, like Vainikolo. He began life as a rugby league international with New Zealand, racking up 23 caps before moving to Kingsholm to play for Gloucester. Despite impressing for his club and making six England appearances, Paul never made the grade and eventually moved back to league, only to return again for Leeds Carnegie.

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