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