Leeds Rhinos’ pursuit of Sam Burgess was well documented, but just how much were they willing to do to get Slammin’ Sam?
According to Will Greenwood, the former England rugby union star, the Super League champions offered England centre Kallum Watkins as part of the deal in their attempts to secure Burgess for 2016.
Writing for The Telegraph, Greenwood revealed that he heard three weeks ago that the Rhinos had proposed the swap deal to Bath as they tried to lure Dewsbury-born Burgess back to Super League.
There had been speculation about Watkins’ involvement in any potential transfer to Leeds, but Greenwood’s revelation adds further fuel to the fire about his long-term future in Rugby League.
Last year, Watkins admitted to League Express that a move to the 15-man code was more appealing to him than a switch to the NRL. Although he expressed his desire to have a long-term future at Leeds.
Watkins enjoyed a fine 2015 season, scoring 20 tries in 32 games and being selected at centre in the Super league Dream Team, with Jamie Peacock stating that he has the potential to become the best British centre of all time. Watkins is currently preparing for England’s third test match with New Zealand on Saturday.
He is contracted with the Rhinos until the end of the 2019 season.
“I heard three weeks ago that Leeds Rhinos had offered Kallum Watkins in part-exchange.” Wrote Greenwood.
“Then the rumours grew – now confirmed – that Burgess would seek to return to Sydney and the Rabbitohs. Well, I am sure Russell Crowe will be delighted, as will the rugby league fraternity. I hate to say it, but they will see this as a ‘victory’.”
Greenwood, who describes him self as a ‘cross-code man’, went on to say he felt ‘sadness’ following Burgess’ departure, and described the whole controversy as ‘a damning indictment of union’.
He also said that his Twitter timeline is full of ‘poisonous’ comments from fans of both codes.