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Mike Ford expects Sam Burgess to be back training for Bath on Monday

A year and a day since Sam Burgess was unveiled as a Bath player, head coach Mike Ford was tight-lipped about the 26-year-old's rugby future.

England World Cup centre Burgess, who has two years left on his contract with Bath, has been on holiday in Spain since making an appearance as a replacement against Exeter two weeks ago.

However, while he has been overseas there has been no end of speculation that a return to rugby league side South Sydney Rabbitohs is under serious consideration.

Ford, speaking after his side's shock 38-28 defeat to Harlequins, revealed that he had spoken to Burgess in recent days but would only say: "Hopefully he has (recharged the batteries) and he'll be back in training on Monday.

"Every player will get time off. In Sam's case it happened earlier than planned."

If Burgess does decide to make a rapid return to rugby league, it could leave Bath short of back row resources, especially after Welsh head coach Warren Gatland blocked the signing of number eight Taulupe Faletau from the Dragons earlier this week.

Of more immediate concern, however, was an injury to England lock Dave Attwood late in the game.

On the defeat by Harlequins, who owed their win to a faultless 28-point haul by fly-half Nick Evans, Ford said: "We're totally gutted about the performance, especially the discipline side of it."

He added: "They took their opportunities. But I was disappointed that we compounded things. We conceded two tries - but eight kickable penalties. We couldn't get out of the rut.

"It's a good wake-up call, if we needed one. We obviously did. Everyone of us - coaches included - need to go away and think about our role in this defeat today and see how we can get better."

Harlequins director of rugby Conor O'Shea again leapt to the defence of England captain Chris Robshaw who made his return in club colours after the World Cup exit.

O'Shea said: "I thought he really grew into the game. He was blowing a bit but he was outstanding. He will prove himself again as the best back row in England. I have no doubt about that. Whether people want to make him captain or not, I don't care.

"He is an unbelievable rugby player. I feel for him, the stick he has got has been completely unwarranted. But that's the world you live in if you stick your head above the parapet as England captain."

He added: "It's been great to have our England lads back. We didn't parachute them in straight away, apart from Mike Brown playing at Leicester last week."

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