Bath confirm Sam Burgess exit as he returns to Souths

Bath Rugby have released a brief statement on their website confirming that Sam Burgess has left the club and will return to rugby league with South Sydney Rabbitohs.

The club have spent the last week denying growing speculation that Burgess was set for a switch back to the 13-man code, with the club’s owner Bruce Craig insisting as recently as Wednesday that he’d be going nowhere.

But now, the club have confirmed the 26-year-old’s exit with a short statement.

It reads: “Bath Rugby can confirm that Sam Burgess has left the Club. Burgess will return to South Sydney Rabbitohs, the Australian rugby league club from whom he joined Bath in October 2014.

“The Club has remained committed to Burgess’s ongoing development as a rugby union player since his move to the West Country, but now recognises that, for personal reasons, he no longer sees his future in the 15-man game. Having settled on agreeable terms within the last 24 hours, Bath Rugby are therefore releasing Burgess with immediate effect.

“Bath Rugby Head Coach Mike Ford said: “We hoped that Sam would stay at Bath. He was doing really well in making the switch over from league and, given time, he could’ve been a great rugby union player. Unfortunately, for personal reasons, he is returning to Australia.

““However, we’re fortunate that we’ve got some very high calibre players here at the Club, and with a big run of games coming up in the Aviva Premiership and the European Rugby Champions Cup, we’ll be fully focused on these.””