McNamara hints that RFU wanted more than just Burgess

England coach Steve McNamara has revealed that the English RFU targeted more players than just Sam Burgess, as they looked to strengthen their squad for the other code’s World Cup.

Even with the commercial power available to union in England, McNamara was still surprised that Burgess moved so quickly.

“The England rugby union are a very powerful organisation and have been trying to build towards winning a World Cup,” he told reporters in Australia.

“Obviously 2015 being on English soil, it’s a huge event for everyone involved. A lot of our players have been on their radar and a lot of them have [been] spoken to.

“But with Sam being in the NRL and the added financial benefits he can get in Australia, it came as a surprise they got him so quickly.”

McNamara admits that the timing of the code switch did take him unawares him at first, with Burgess such a star in the NRL.

“It was a complete shock at that stage,” he said.

“It wouldn’t have surprised me if it was two, three or four years down the line. Sam’s a bloke who does make quick and strong decisions and I think at some stage in his career he would have certainly loved a different challenge.

“But the timing of it, knowing how well he was going in Australia and how much he loved living in Australia, it did come as a shock.

“But when you sit down and look at what’s ahead for the England rugby union team this year, it’s not a shock reflecting back.

“Sam loves the challenge more than anything and that’s why he’s doing it.”

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