Friday 23 August 2019

Sam Burgess attends Bath training for the first time since Rugby World Cup disaster

Sam Burgess had a poor World Cup
Sam Burgess had a poor World Cup

Duncan Bech

Sam Burgess reported for training at Bath on Monday morning, the Aviva Premiership club have confirmed.

Burgess was given time off after England's World Cup disaster and travelled to Spain to reflect on his future in union after completing the first year of his three-year contract at the Recreation Ground.

Bath head coach Mike Ford revealed Burgess "didn't quite feel right" upon his return to club duty and the 26-year-old is understood to be seeking a return to league with the South Sydney Rabbitohs.

Ford outlined his conviction last week that Burgess would see out the remainder of his contract and that he would resume training at Bath on Monday with a view to selection for the weekend's clash with London Irish.

The Premiership runners-up have included Burgess in their 41-man squad for this season's European Champions Cup, but his return to league just 12 months after switching codes appears inevitable.

England were determined to take Burgess to the World Cup, dropping the more established Northampton centre Luther Burrell to fast-track a player who they felt offered leadership and big-game experience.

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

His union transition has been made harder by England's instance on using him as an inside centre while last season he played his best rugby for Bath at blindside flanker.

International Rugby Newsletter

Rugby insights and commentary from our renowned journalists like Neil Francis, Will Slattery, Alan Quinlan & Cian Tracey.

According to his brother Tom, the uncertainty over Burgess' future is a result of the welcome he has received in union.

"Speaking truthfully, he was probably treated a bit unfairly in my opinion and that's probably what's pushing him away at the moment," Tom said after helping England's rugby league team to a 26-12 win over New Zealand in Hull.

"He's had a week or 10 days off that Mike Ford gave him to refresh him a little bit mentally and he'll assess his options. He's not made any decision as yet, at the moment he's still with Bath."

Burgess was the subject of a brutal assessment from former Ireland centre Gordon D'Arcy, who wrote in an Irish Times column that Burgess' ''naivety embarrassed those around him'' and labelled him ''a league convert who doesn't know how to play inside centre''.

"Sam's new to union so that's probably why, but in my opinion - I'm not an expert on union - I don't think he did too much wrong in that World Cup," Tom said.

"He's enjoyed the experience but he's probably just a bit over some of the stick he's been getting."

PA Media

The Left Wing: The 'hell' of World Cup training camp, Ireland's half-back dilemma and All Blacks uncertainty

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport