Ford says Burgess will stay in rugby union

Bath coach Mike Ford has poured cold water on talk linking Sam Burgess with a return to Rugby League – saying people have put “two and two” together over a return to the 13-man code.

Reports in the national media overnight heavily linked Burgess with a move back to his first sport, with a return to the NRL and South Sydney Rabbitohs the likely destination.

But Ford, a former Rugby League man himself, said that after reports Burgess has been given time off to make a decision over his future, Bath made the call to let him go away and get refreshed ahead of a return to training next Monday.

“I’ve spoken to Sam many a time and he’s talked about coming back to Bath, rolling his sleeves up and playing six for us,” Ford told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“There’s no drama. Everyone’s put two and two together, seen him up north sitting next to Steve McNamara the England rugby league coach, watching his brother play Rugby League.

“Last week, initially he wanted to come back to training and he did. It didn’t quite feel right so we decided to give him this time off there and then, which means he’s going to go away, get refreshed and be back in training on November 2nd. That’s the plan and we can’t wait to have him back.

“Everything we’ve talked about with Sam is about the future, about playing well for Bath in the Champion’s Cup. And potentially get him playing for England in the Six Nations at [number] six if not at the end of the season on tour to Australia.

“He’s got a three-year contract with us, there’s another couple of years of that and this is the time that he becomes a better rugby union player.”