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Sam Burgess shines on South Sydney Rabbitohs return

Matt Roberts/Getty Images

Sam Burgess celebrated his return to rugby league with a try and a man-of-the-match performance in South Sydney's 22-20 win over Gold Coast Titans in a pre-season friendly on Australia's Gold Coast.

Burgess has rejoined the Rabbitohs after an abortive spell in rugby union with Bath and England and it was if he had never been away.

The Sydney club's 2014 grand final Premiership hero capped an impressive return with a 55th-minute solo try, although he was quick to play down his contribution.

"I just sat and listened to the press conference with [captain] Greg [Inglis] and Madge [coach Michael Maguire]," Burgess told the Sydney Morning Herald. "Every second question was about me.

"I don't want to say anything wrong but it's probably a little bit unfair to the team.

"It's not about me. I've come back to play at Souths but I think we need to chill out a bit. I've said before, I'm a small part of a big team and here to do my job like everyone else."

Burgess left Souths after the 2014 grand final and 12 months later was playing for England in the rugby union World Cup. He was, however, heavily criticised over his fast-tracking into the national side and quit in November with two years left on his contract with Premiership club Bath, citing family reasons for his hasty retreat.

Souths are thought to have paid more than £500,000 to secure his release and in December he married his Australian girlfriend Phoebe Hooke.

Burgess was forced to pull out of the NRL All Stars season pipe-opener last weekend due to a lack of fitness but his club captain hailed his impact on Saturday.

"We've always had that belief but with Sam in the side, his presence and his leadership, you can really feel it," Inglis said. "Unless you've been in our sheds, you can't understand what he's truly about.

"Obviously all day we can talk about his qualities. That's just the bloke he is but we have to focus on what South Sydney is about this year."