Sam Burgess signs for England Rugby - report

Last updated 17:54 06/02/2014
Sam Burgess
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HEADING HOME: South Sydney star Sam Burgess has reportedly signed a deal with England Rugby.

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South Sydney say Sam Burgess has not discussed a release from his NRL contract despite a report that he will switch to rugby union at the end of the year.

The UK's Daily Mail reported the English international forward had accepted a three-year deal with an English rugby club, believed to be Bath, in the hope of playing at the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

Burgess' departure from rugby league was expected to be confirmed once financial terms - including an estimated STG500,000 ($A920,000) transfer fee - had been finalised, it reported.

Burgess has been a key figure in South Sydney's re-emergence as a rugby league powerhouse since being recruited by owner Russell Crowe in 2010 and he is contracted to Redfern until the end of 2016.

In response to the speculation the Rabbitohs sent a statement to club members.

"The club has had no contact from Sam's management, the Rugby Football Union or any rugby union clubs in the UK regarding a release for Sam Burgess from his NRL contract with the Rabbitohs," the statement read.

However captain John Sutton says it'll be a big loss, on and off the field, if Burgess departs.

"It would be a loss, he is a great player," Sutton said.

"Ever since he came to Souths he has been a leader.

"He would be a big loss if he does go but I don't know anything about that.

"I'm not worried. We have a year ahead to worry about."

NSW Waratahs coach Michael Cheika, who spent eight years coaching in Europe, said he believed Burgess could be a success in the 15-a-side code with talk suggesting he will play in the centres.

"He's a pretty competitive type of guy, he's a big, athletic player. The basics of the game are relatively the same and he's still young. I'm sure he'll go well if he does make the move," said Cheika.

However Waratahs playmaker Bernard Foley wasn't so sure.

"It's not as easy as everyone says to switch codes," he said.

"For a bloke like Sam Burgess he's a great athlete and I'm sure he'll have a really good crack at it but I don't think it's as easy as everyone says to swap over and just go in for a World Cup.

"Especially going into an England side that's been preparing for the last couple of years and looking pretty stable."

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- Sydney Morning Herald

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