The news we’ve all been dreading was finally confirmed on Monday, when it was announced that Sam Burgess will indeed switch codes at the end of this year.
As sad as it may seem on the face of things, there are some positives to take from the deal. None will replace having the most exciting forward in world rugby in our sport, but they may make it a little easier to take.
He’s still got a year left on his Sydney contract
He isn’t making the switch to rugby union until the end of this season, so we still have a full season of Slammin’ Sam in the NRL to look forward to. I’m sure he will make it one to remember.
He will probably (hopefully) code hop like SBW
At one point only Sonny Bill Williams was talented enough to swap codes at will and play in all the world cups. Now, though, Burgess is on that level, and if the 2015 rugby union world cup was as big a pull as he says, the 2017 Rugby League offering – and a chance to avenge that crushing semi-final defeat to New Zealand last year – will surely see him come home.
He is bettering his life
Being paid nearly £200,000 a year to live and work in stunning Sydney isn’t exactly a bad lifestyle, I know, but Burgess’ new Bath deal is worth a reported £750,000 a year. That’s a life-changing sum of money. If someone offered you a 375% wage rise would you turn it down? Sam is from humble beginnings and it’s fantastic to see him earning so highly. He’s worked hard and definitely deserves it.
We get to watch him every week
If you’re like me and struggle to convince your better half to let you buy a Premier Sports subscription, you won’t have seen much live Burgess action for a few seasons. Once he makes the move to union, though, BT Sport have the TV rights and there are ways to get their service for free. That means you can get your weekly fix of Sam in full flow without upsetting the missus. It will also be on at a more reasonable hour due to being in the same time zone.
He might improve the public’s view of Rugby League
Don’t get me wrong, there have been some amazing Rugby League exports who went on to thrive in union. Jason Robinson is probably our most successful. However, I wonder how many rugby union fans actually knew his origins. Despite him spending more of his career in Rugby League, I’d wager it wasn’t common knowledge. Burgess, on the other hand, is the poster boy of Rugby League so when he starts ripping up defences like he surely will, the public will know exactly where he came from, and that can only help our sport.