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Sam Burgess named in Bath squad for European Champions Cup

Sam Burgess has been named in a 41-man Bath squad for this season's European Champions Cup.

But speculation has intensified that he is on the verge of a return to rugby league just 12 months after switching codes.

Burgess, 26, features in the group of players named by Bath for a tournament that kicks off next month.

Bath's opening Champions Cup game is away against reigning European champions Toulon on November 15.

Burgess' future could start to become clearer next Monday, when he is due to resume training with the Aviva Premiership club.

England World Cup centre Burgess, who has two years left on his contract with Bath, has taken a break in Spain.

Reports, though, have stated that a return to rugby league side South Sydney Rabbitohs is under serious consideration.

A Bath spokesperson told Press Association Sport on Thursday: "Sam Burgess is just starting the second year of a three-year contract with Bath Rugby.

"We gave him time off after he returned from the World Cup, as we will all England players, and he will be back in training on Monday."

Bath head coach Mike Ford, meanwhile, admits that Burgess "didn't quite feel right" after the World Cup, but is convinced he will remain a rugby union player.

Ford can expect to be quizzed on the Burgess subject following Bath's Premiership home game against Harlequins on Saturday.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Thursday, Ford said: "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.

"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."

England were determined to take Burgess to the World Cup, dropping the more established Northampton centre Luther Burrell to make room for a player who they felt offered leadership and big-game experience, albeit in a different code.

Burgess was defensively solid but otherwise underwhelming on his debut against World Cup warm-up opponents France in August, yet had done enough to be chosen ahead of Burrell. The England management repeatedly stated his selection was based on the strength of his performances in training.

Other than a strong final-quarter cameo off the bench against a tiring Fiji in the World Cup opener, though, he was unable to make an impression on the World Cup as England crashed out in the pool stage.


From Belfast Telegraph