Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby

Report - Sam Burgess given time off by Bath to consider rugby league return

Bath have given their England World Cup centre Sam Burgess time off to consider his rugby future - and a possible return to league, according to BBC Sport.

Burgess has not played for Bath since England made a World Cup pool stage exit earlier this month.

Although it is understood he is due to resume training with the Aviva Premiership club next Monday, a possible league return has been mooted.

No-one at Bath was available to comment.

Reports in Australia have suggested that 26-year-old Burgess could return to South Sydney Rabbitohs, the club he helped to last year's NRL title before switching codes and officially joining Bath a year ago.

Despite his limited union experience, Burgess was then picked for England's World Cup squad - but as a centre, rather than the flanker role he filled for Bath during the latter stages of last season, culminating in a Premiership final appearance against Saracens at Twickenham.

He made his union Test debut against France in August, but his World Cup campaign did not get off the ground as England made a pool stage exit and the Yorkshireman struggled for form.

Burgess fuelled speculation over a return to rugby league by attending England's opening autumn international against France at Leigh last Saturday, when he sat alongside England head coach Steve McNamara.

McNamara, who gave Burgess his debut in Super League during their time together at Bradford, remains convinced the player will return to rugby league but stopped short of putting a time frame on it.

"The reason I am confident of him coming back is all his family's in Australia, he's getting married to a girl who's Australian, he's got business interests in Australia," McNamara said.

"For me, it's just common sense that at some point he'll come back, but when that is, he'll determine that."

Although Bath were in action at the weekend, Burgess opted to watch his younger brother Tom play for England and afterwards met up with his former team-mates in the changing room but is unlikely to attend Sunday's first Test against New Zealand in Hull.

"I don't think he can come to the game this week, he's back on duty with Bath," McNamara said. " He just wanted to come and watch his brother.

"He didn't want any fuss which you could understand. He had the weekend off and he wanted to come and watch his brother play for England.

"He looked really relaxed and happy with himself, which was good. He's been under a lot of pressure."

McNamara admitted he would not hesitate to bring Burgess back into the England fold if he returned to the 13-man code.

"If he came back to rugby league, absolutely," he said. "If he was back involved in our sport, we'd try and find a spot for him!"


From Belfast Telegraph