World Cup flop Burgess has no regrets over failed code switch


A year after returning to rugby league, Sam Burgess admits his "heart didn't lie" in rugby union, but insists he would change nothing about his code conversion.

Burgess signed off from the NRL as a Grand Final winner with South Sydney Rabbitohs in 2014 to try his luck in the Premiership with Bath.

He did enough to controversially earn a place in the England squad for the 2015 Rugby World Cup on home soil, but failed to impress after starting in a damaging 28-25 loss to Wales.

Burgess was named on the bench as England then lost to Australia at Twickenham, becoming the first host nation in the tournament's history to bow out at the pool stage.

In November last year he opted to walk away from Bath ahead of schedule, returning to the NRL with South Sydney.

Asked in an interview with The Guardian if he would do anything differently about his switch from league to union, he said: "Not really. I didn't make a lot of decisions in union because I didn't have much power. I still gave it everything. 

"I was given a task at my club [Bath] to crack it as a six [flanker] and we got to a Premiership final. I probably played one of my best games in that final but we lost to Saracens. 

"I then got given the challenge to play 12 [for England]. There were four centres to be selected out of nine. I made the four which took a lot of dedication.

"People might forget I chased some serious goals. Fingers will always be pointed but deep down I wouldn't change anything. The bottom line is that my heart didn't lie there [in union] and I didn't want to spend four more years doing something I didn't quite love. People who want to dig will find out what really happened - but it won't be me."

England's humiliating early exit cost Stuart Lancaster his job but Burgess remains on good terms with the former head coach, who was replaced by Australian Eddie Jones.

"I've spoken to Stuart three or four times since the World Cup on a friendship basis," he said.

"We had a lot of respect for each other. We were in the firing line - me and him - and sometimes people forgot I was new in the game. 

"There were lots of senior players in that team who had a lot of personality but, because of the height of media around me, it was easier for them to sit behind that.

"[But] I don't like the word scapegoat. I actually don't think anyone believed it was just down to me and Stuart."

Burgess is back in England on international duty this month, Wayne Bennett's national rugby league team - captained by the Rabbitohs forward - struggling past Scotland in the Four Nations in Coventry on Saturday, having lost their tournament opener to New Zealand.