Rugby Union

Sam Burgess dismisses rugby league return speculation

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Sam Burgess has denied reports in Australia that he is planning a swift return to rugby league next year with the South Sydney Rabbitohs.

The build-up to England's Rugby World Cup opener against Fiji at Twickenham on Friday has been interrupted by speculation that Burgess is ready to switch codes for a second time and rejoin the club he helped win last October's NRL grand final.

Burgess, however, insists he is focused only on winning his third cap when he steps off the bench against the Islanders.


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"I can completely deny it, there is no truth in it and I haven't had a word from Australia. I don't know where it has come from but it's definitely not true," Burgess said.

"I am not too worried really. If this story was meant to unsettle me, I'm not sure it has worked!

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"Let's just crack on because I haven't heard anything. It is just a beat up story, so let's put it to bed.

"Once I made the decision to come over, one of my goals was to play in this World Cup and it's here now.

"For me I have just got to get out there and do my bit for the team and this country. I will give it my heart."

Bath head coach Mike Ford has stated that Burgess would see out the two years left on his contract, while his England counterpart Stuart Lancaster sees the 26-year-old staying in union until the 2019 World Cup.

"I had a long conversation with Sam and it wasn't mentioned once. I don't consider it an issue," Lancaster said.

"He has come to rugby union because he wants to play international rugby union and he has ambitions further down the line to make it beyond just England. He wants to play in this World Cup and the next World Cup."

Burgess hinted during his final-quarter cameo against Ireland 10 days ago that he can cause problems when defences have become more ragged, although he was unable to deliver the breakthrough in the 21-13 victory at Twickenham.

The Yorkshireman insists, however, he will not run out against the Fijians with the intention of producing something spectacular.

"I have a job to do personally for the team and I will try and execute that as well as I can," Burgess said.

"I have never shied away from a challenge and I will enjoy the time I get and it's important not to try and overdo things in the limited time you get.

"I just have to continue the job the guys have started. We have some fresh legs.

"I can bring a little spark, if needed.

"But it's about doing the job that has been assigned to the guys before me. And then finish it off with as much intensity and passion as I can."

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