Burgess didn't have the stomach to see out Bath contract - Ford


Sam Burgess' decision to quit Bath after just 12 months has been criticised by head coach Mike Ford, who says the code-hopper "did not have the stomach" to fight for his future at the club.

Burgess arrived at the Premiership side Bath to much fanfare, but last week opted to return to rugby league with NRL side South Sydney Rabbitohs.

The 25-year-old's inclusion in England's Rugby World Cup squad caused particular controversy and Burgess explained in a column for The Daily Mail that he left union because "my heart just isn't it" while expressing disappointment at criticism from former players.

However, Ford believes Burgess should have fought harder to become a success in the 15-man game and failed to hide his frustration at his decision.

"All I know is that he didn't have the stomach to see out his contract," Ford said. "For me this was the time to roll his sleeves up and become the player that I thought he could be - and he chose not to.

"You don't know what he was thinking, it wasn't until the final talk I had with him that I felt there was nothing more I could do.

"But I did speak to him about that and about what a fantastic player he could be and about the investment the club and the players had made in him and that it was time to repay that. But he chose differently."

Ford also defended Bath captain Stuart Hooper for refusing to allow Burgess to meet with his team-mates after opting to return to Sydney.

"I think Sam asked to come back in on the Friday," he added. "We had a lot of distractions, we'd not started the season brilliantly, we had a really important game against London Irish a nd we just wanted to concentrate on the game.

"Stuart said to him 'look we've got a day off on Monday, come back in and see the lads then', that's all it was. 

"Stuart got them together, formed a huddle and from there it seemed to be really tight, bonded them even further.

"Francois Louw's a really good friend of his, he came back and spoke to the squad and again it was about saying 'let's move on, it's about us now, let's keep it tight'."