Burgess opens up on union exit

Date published: November 10 2015

Former Bath and England player Sam Burgess believes certain ex-players had an agenda against the team and didn't want them to succeed.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, the 26-year-old rugby league star has detailed his emotions after a roller-coaster spell in the XV-man game.

He also spoke of his love for rugby league and that his heart was in that sport after re-signing for NRL side the South Sydney Rabbitohs.

Burgess played 21 matches for Bath and five internationals in his short stint in the game but he believes it was one many did not support.

"Some ex-players just kept letting rip … It's almost like they don't want anyone else to do well in the jersey … I find that really disappointing and I didn't want to stay in a sport like that," he told the newspaper following a difficult time for the player.

"That was an upsetting factor to me; that people who are supposed to love the game are actually tearing it to shreds. I felt like certain people didn't want England and Stuart Lancaster to succeed. They were after him — so aggressively. He could never do a thing right, no matter what. I was right in the middle of that and it is unbelievable. It's not a productive place to be.

"To get in that 31-man squad, I had to work so hard. To crack it was really, really tough but I loved that. I made it into the team as a 12 and I really felt that I fully deserved to be there. I think a lot of people outside the England camp had an agenda against both England and in some circumstances, me. Certain ex-players had an agenda and sections of the media had an agenda, too. I also think certain coaches not involved with England had an agenda."

Burgess helped Bath reach the Premiership final in 2014/15 and arguably played his best game for the club in that match, in the back-row. And he admits that leaving the Recreation Ground was not an easy call to make.

"My decision to leave Bath and move back to Australia was for personal reasons, but it was also because I wanted to spend the rest of my career playing the game that's in my heart," he continued.

"I wanted to go in and see the (Bath) team, to get my point across, but Stuart Hooper, our captain, said he didn't think I'd be well received there, which was fair enough — if that's how he felt. I wanted to go and say goodbye, not just as a team-mate but as a friend, but that didn’t happen. I've not been back in there, but I've spoken to guys away from the club.

"Rugby league is in my heart. I'm looking forward to getting back to Sydney, where I'll be with my family and playing for the Rabbitohs alongside my brothers again."