Burgess: Rugby League is where I belong

New England captain Sam Burgess says he has no regrets about his time in rugby union but rugby league is where he belongs.

Burgess was officially announced as the new skipper of England today with Sean O’Loughlin out injured.

The South Sydney forward spent a much scrutinised season in rugby union, eventually representing England in the 15-man code, but returned to rugby league at the end of 2015.

Burgess will make his first appearance on the international stage in the upcoming Four Nations, after his last game for England came in the World Cup semi-final three years ago against New Zealand at Wembley.

He told media in London today that he has no scars from his time in union and has nothing to prove to anyone.

“People always have an opinion of what it was like [in union] but people within knew what it was like at the time, knew what sort of environment I was in,” Burgess said.

“For me I don’t have any scars or any regrets or anything. I’m looking forward to getting back into an England rugby league jersey.

“I’ve not got a point to prove to anyone else except my teamates, and to Wayne.”

“To be honest I didn’t really take a great deal of notice [of the scruinty]. I wasn’t exposed to what was going on. It’s just part of the job. It didn’t affect me at all.

“It’s good, great in fact [to be back]. It’s good to be back in the English league team, but I also had a great time in the English union team.”

Burgess admitted he did take some learnings from his time in rugby union.

“If anything, I just took a lot of character out of it,” he said.

“Going into a game I didn’t know, to knuckle down and get into an England squad took a lot of dedication, a lot of commitment, a lot of focus.

“I learned a lot about my personal character and about team environments. Overall it was a great experience.

“I wouldn’t say I’m back in my comfort zone. It’s not a comfortable game to play rugby league. But yeah it’s where I belong.”

Burgess has pipped James Graham for the national team captaincy.

The Rabbitohs star said he was “over the moon” to get the nod.

“It’s a bit of a childhood dream to captain your country,” he said.

“I’m overjoyed by Wayne’s decision. It’s a really nice feeling for my family as well.”

England take on France in Avignon this Saturday before the Four Nations opener against the Kiwis in Huddersfield.

Burgess, who is unavailable for the France game through suspension, said it is an exciting time.

“We certainly believe in the team we’ve got,” he said.

“It’s exciting for the guys who are in the team for the first time and also there’s a mix of some guys who’ve been here for a while. It’s a good balance.

“We always want to be successful. The last time I was involved we had a great campaign. I thought we were unfortunate not to make the final.

“We just want to be successful as a group.”

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