Sam Burgess switch hits the buffers
February 14, 2014
Sam Burgess - stuck in the middle for the time being © PA Photos
Sam Burgess' switch from league to union appears to have ground to a halt with fears it might not happen at all.
A report in the Times claims that the motivating factor behind the proposed move to Bath was an RFU pledge it would meet the £500,000 transfer fee demanded by the South Sydney Rabbitohs, but the RFU has denied it ever made such an offer.
"We were informed that a number of Premiership clubs were contacted and told that the RFU were interested in bringing Sam Burgess into rugby union," Bruce Craig, the Bath owner, told the newspaper. "[They were told] Sam would be put on the market because the RFU would be paying the transfer fee. That is the truth.
"What we were told was they [the Rabbitohs] would release Sam from his contract and there would be an open market among the English clubs to bring Sam into the English game."
The report states the RFU has moved to distance itself from the deal which means any interested clubs are faced with making a substantial outlay for a player whose reputation has been established in a different code.
Burgess, meanwhile, is for now locked into a contract which does not end until 2016 with a club fully aware they have a player who wants to leave.
The Times adds that the lure of possibly playing in the 2015 Rugby World Cup is one of the main reasons behind Burgess' decision and if forced to play out the remainder of his contract he may choose to stay put after all.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
In the blink of an eye, a winger can go from a hero to villain. Hugh Godwin talks to Zac Guildford and David Strettle about life on the flank
Munster, No.8s, the imploding Australians, wonderful Glasgow and Lancaster's dilemma - it is Monday Maul time
As Ewen McKenzie exits stage left, the ARU remains under huge pressure, with CEO Bill Pulver feeling the brunt of Australian rugby's displeasure, Greg Growden writes
The latest Week in Pictures takes in the remarkable events in Brisbane and the first round of the European Rugby Champions Cup