Rugby World Cup 2015

Flip-flop: Sam Burgess set to switch codes again in big-money move back to Australia

Englishman left the NRL last year to return to rugby union outfit Bath in English Premiership

PUBLISHED : Monday, 02 November, 2015, 12:17pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 08 December, 2015, 11:28am

England dual international Sam Burgess is set to be lured back to Australia’s National Rugby League with the richest deal in the game’s 108-year history, reports said on Monday.

The Daily Telegraph reported that Burgess’ contract with an NRL club would be worth A$1.5 million (HK$8.3 million) a season, placing him above the highest NRL earners, Kangaroos captain Cameron Smith, South Sydney star Greg Inglis and Dally M Medallist Johnathan Thurston.

We decided to give him time off there and then, which means that he’s gone away to get refreshed and will be back in training on November 2
Mike Ford, Bath coach

On top of his base salary, Burgess’ deal would be topped up by registered, but uncapped, third-party agreements, the newspaper said.

READ MORE: England pick league convert Sam Burgess for Rugby World Cup

With last right of refusal, his former NRL club South Sydney are firm favourites to sign Burgess, although he is likely to receive interest from other NRL clubs.

Bath still say they expect Burgess to remain in rugby, despite his modest World Cup campaign and reported unhappiness in the 15-man code.

The English club last week named Burgess in their 41-man European Champions Cup squad.

Bath coach Mike Ford told the BBC: “Last week, Sam came back into training because initially that’s what he wanted, but then he did and he didn’t quite feel right.

READ MORE: ‘Perplexed’ England veteran Simon Shaw questions Sam Burgess’ inclusion in World Cup squad

“We decided to give him time off there and then, which means that he’s gone away to get refreshed and will be back in training on November 2.”

The only stumbling block to Burgess’ return to the 13-man code appears Bath’s insistence on the return of the bulk of the £500,000 (HK$5.9 million) they reportedly paid to the Rabbitohs only 12 months ago.

The 26-year-old Burgess, who was a controversial selection for England’s World Cup squad ahead of more established players, has two years left of his contract with Bath.