England deny Sam Burgess move
February 6, 2014
Sam Burgess has been heavily linked with a cross-code move © PA Photos
England boss Stuart Lancaster has denied an approach has been made for rugby league star Sam Burgess.
Reports on Thursday said Burgess had agreed to a cross-code switch to an Aviva Premiership side, rumoured to be Bath, with the Rugby Football Union footing part of the transfer fee.
Burgess is contracted to the South Sydney Rabbitohs until 2016 meaning any potential suitor would have to pay a large fee for his services with £500,000 one suggested amount.
"It's all a bit hypothetical at the moment and is just speculation as far as I'm aware. The RFU haven't made any approach to the Rabbitohs," Lancaster said. "It's really an issue for Sam if he wanted to come to rugby union.
"He's under contract and would need to persuade his club to release him and another club to sign him. We don't centrally contract players so it would have to be an arrangement with an English club."
It has been suggested Burgess could participate in England's 2015 World Cup campaign at inside centre, but Lancaster insists the timescale would make it difficult for any league convert to argue a meaningful case for selection for the tournament.
"It would be a challenge, big time, because of the nature of learning the sport and everything else that goes with it," he said "There's a bigger picture about developing a team that goes way beyond 2015 as well."
The Rabbitohs have poured cold water on the rumours, saying: ""The club has had no contact from Sam's management, the Rugby Football Union (RFU) or any rugby union clubs in the UK regarding a release for Sam Burgess from his NRL contract with the Rabbitohs."
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