Burgess woe a warning for code hoppers

Sam Burgess is wasted in rugby union and his stint in the 15-man game should be a warning to any other league stars looking at jumping ship.

We don’t know yet what Burgess’ next move will be. Fast-tracked in to the England squad for the World Cup and unfairly made a scapegoat by fans and the press, betting has been suspended on the former Bradford forward making a return to league with Leeds.

He may yet decide to give union another go, continuing with his club side Bath, but the speculation around Burgess and his omission from Saturday night’s dead rubber against Uruguay might mean a return to the international fold may prove to awkward an obstacle to overcome.

It is of course the international game that attracts players to union, and the additional money, exposure and sponsorship it brings.

Who wouldn’t want to play in front of a packed Twickenham, Millennium Stadium or otherwise maybe up to 10 times a year.

It’s frustrating to learn of more withdrawals from the Kiwi side heading over to these shores for the three match series later this autumn, including a groundbreaking game at the Olympic Stadium.

What a boost it would be for international rugby league if England could capitalise on the failings of their union counterparts by putting on a gripping show of victory.

Perhaps if the international game was to grow, then players like Burgess wouldn’t be tempted to switch codes.

You can’t blame them for chasing the elevated glory that the 15-man game promises.

But maybe the attitude shown towards Burgess, and the sheer lack of activity he has faced in the games he’s played, will set the alarm bells ringing for any other high profile players considering a switch.

If rugby league can keep its best players, it is of course a no brainer that the game will be better off for it.

Losing players to the NRL is one thing, but losing them entirely is something else.

Wouldn’t it be some story if Burgess completes a return to league ahead of the autumn test series.


We can but dream.

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