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
"The fairytale continued right to the end for the magic man." Tom Hamilton reports on the game that saw Brian O'Driscoll bid adieu with the Six Nations title
"It is a sign of how far this England team have come that they looked disappointed at the full-time whistle having just put 52 points on Italy." Tom Hamilton writes
We pick out the a selection of the best photographs from a memorable championship in the Six Nations in pictures
We bring together a selection of the best pictures from the final round of the Six Nations and one which ended in Irish victory