Burgess: Union stay was the easy option

Updated: 

England captain Sam Burgess insists it would have been easier for him to stay in rugby union than return to league.

Burgess made a switch to union in 2014, playing with Bath in the Premiership and for England, including at the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

The 27-year-old's performances were heavily scrutinised and criticised, with hosts England suffering a humiliating pool-stage exit at the World Cup.

"I didn't leave the game because of the World Cup," Burgess told The Telegraph.

"I left it for my own reasons. If you're doing something and you're not enjoying it, you can either continue to do it and plod along, but in our career, we have a very short period of time.

"The easier decision could have been to sit there. Yeah, I could have had a good time.

"I probably wouldn't have copped a lot of the backlash. But deep down, I'm really not as passionate about it. I wouldn't have been honest with myself if I'd stayed."

Burgess made the return to league in late 2015, signing with former club South Sydney Rabbitohs in the NRL.

As he prepares to lead England at the Four Nations, Burgess said being tested was something he longed for.

"I mean, I love challenges. But a lot of them are realistic challenges, not silly. I thought I could achieve something in rugby union. I did," he said.

"I thought I could go and play in the NRL. I guess that could be my personality. To take a shot at something."