Monday 17 December 2018

'Great men lost their jobs' - Sam Burgess says 'selfish players' cost England at 2015 Rugby World Cup in Twitter rant

Sam Burgess
Sam Burgess

Charlie Morgan

Sam Burgess has responded to criticism of his selection at Rugby World Cup 2015 by claiming that "individual egos" and "selfish players" were to blame for England's pool-stage exit at the tournament.

Over three years on from the losses to Wales and Australia that sealed England's fate, and also led to Stuart Lancaster, Andy Farrell and the rest of their immediate coaching team vacating their posts, Burgess posted a series of tweets defensing his contribution stressing his commitment to the campaign.

Now back with South Sydney Rabbitohs, the NRL outfit from which he arrived at Bath in October 2014, the 29 year-old hinted that he would one day elaborate on the "other agendas" that preoccupied other England players.

Having won his first two Test caps in England's warm-up matches against France and Ireland, Burgess was a surprise inclusion in Lancaster's final squad of 31 and came off the bench against Fiji on the opening night of Rugby World Cup 2015.

In the absence of injured Jonathan Joseph, he was subsequently selected to start at inside centre against Wales. England led 25-18 when he was replaced by George Ford and Warren Gatland's team famously battled back to prevail 28-25.

The following week, Joseph returned and Burgess was back among the replacements as Australia ransacked Twickenham. The Wallabies recorded a 33-13 victory that knocked out England. Burgess, who appeared briefly in the second half, returned to rugby league with the Rabbitohs a month later.

His comments come in the wake of Ireland unveiling Andy Farrell, another casualty of England's Rugby World Cup 2015 failure and now Ireland defence coach, as the successor to head coach Joe Schmidt following Rugby World Cup 2019.

Ireland captain Rory Best endorsed the decision with effusive praise.

“The thing that Faz does better than any other coach is that he makes it feel personal for him,” Best said. “It is impossible not to like him.

“When he talks about defence, he makes you want to go and defend. As head coach, when he talks about any aspect of the game he would make you want to buy into it.”

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