Craig : Bath deny Burgess approach from League

Sam Burgess is expected back in the Bath line up this weekend

English Premiership Rugby club Bath’s owner Bruce Craig has insisted that he has not been approached by anyone from South Sydney or any other rugby league club about signing Sam Burgess.

Speculation has been rife that Burgess is considering a move back to Sydney to rejoin his old NRL club the Rabbitohs in South Sydney as reports say that he has become disillusioned with life in rugby union.

The 26-year-old dual international has come in for a lot of criticism for his selection in the England team over players such as Luther Burrell.

However Bath say that they have no plans to let Burgess go and Craig said that they are interested in extending contract to keep him until after the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

“Sam is with us for the next two years and is under contract,” Craig told AAP and answered “no” when asked if Burgess had asked to leave.

“No one has come in for Sam. At the moment he’s with us and is in our Champions Cup squad. We’re not in negotiations with anyone.

There have also been reports that Super League champions Leeds have expressed their interest in signing him but Craig said that they too had not been in touch.

“Leeds haven’t been in contact with me,” said Craig.

“It’s resolved at the moment. Sam is contracted with us. As far we’re concerned he’s with us and will continue playing for us.”

Burgess was played at inside centre for England during the World Cup which is where Bath originally played him but more recently he has made more of an impact for the club at blindside flanker and they plan to keep playing him there.

Craig has insisted that Burgess will be played at blindside flanker as that is his natural home and is convinced that he would be further along in his rugby union development had England trained him over the summer in the position.

“We brought Sam over with a specific brief, which was that he’d play in the back row,” Craig said.

“That’s where he’ll play for us. That’s where we see him and where his best qualities are and where Sam sees himself.

“If he wasn’t picked in the England squad, obviously his development would have increased.

“I’m absolutely sure he can be a star of the World Cup if he sticks around. I think he can be a great number six.”

Bath coach Mike Ford has also revealed that they are looking for a new back row player and they cannot afford to lose Burgess with a punishing run of Premiership and Champions Cup fixtures ahead.

Ahead of Christmas Bath have fixtures against London Irish, Toulon, Leinster, Leicester and Northampton and then a double header against Wasps.

Ford is hoping that a run of big games will revive Burgess’ appetite for the game after he was given time off to spend in Spain relaxing but is expected back this weekend.

“For a player to have that hype around him at a home World Cup and then have massive disappointment, when is that going to clear in his mind?” Ford said.

“We just want Sam to be Sam and that means him carrying the football and making tackles. We believe he does more of that when he is at six.

“We have some really juicy fixtures coming up and knowing Sam as a competitor, he will want to play in those games and if he plays well it will help him.”

Bath captain Stuart Hooper said that Burgess returned to the club on Monday after his 10-day break in Spain and was back to himself.

“Sam came back in on Monday, came back into the changing room and it was the same old banter. He’s been fantastic,” Hooper said.

“I had a sit down with him as captain. I care about all our guys, I care about them a lot. I just wanted to say to him I’m here and I want to help you.

“He has had a lot of stuff written about him and a lot of stuff written about his fiancee.

“When he is in our changing room he is a fantastic bloke, enjoying being with us and wanting to be with us.”

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