Sam Burgess’ family not expecting him to return to NRL any time soon

South Sydney prop Tom Burgess expects his brother Sam to play out the remaining two years of his English rugby union deal before considering a return to the NRL.

Burgess, who has also been linked with a move to Super League side Leeds, was the target of heavy criticism during England’s disastrous Rugby World Cup campaign and there has been speculation he was set for another code switch since the hosts crashed out of the tournament after losing to Wales and Australia in pool matches.

The future of the former Rabbitohs superstar was even the subject of an advertising billboard for Irish betting agency Paddy Power in Manchester last Saturday, where the Super League grand final was played at Old Trafford and England met Uruguay at Etihad Stadium in their final match of the World Cup.

The billboard featured a photoshopped picture of Burgess in his English playing kit with his thumb hooked like a hitch-hiker and holding a sign which read: “Old Trafford”. Alongside him were the words: “I’m a rugby league player. Get me out of here!”.

​But Tom, who is in camp with the England league team ahead of its upcoming Test series against New Zealand, said Sam remained committed to Bath and was determined to ensure his time in rugby union was a success.

“I get asked about a hundred times a day in Australia, especially from South Sydney fans,” Tom said. “It is a bit of a talk of the town at the moment about whether Sam’s going to come back to league or not but at the moment it’s just speculation.

“It’s what everyone wants in league but at the end of the day it’s his decision and he’ll make the decision based on how he’s feeling. He’s signed up for two more years at Bath so that’s it.”

Tom, who caught up with Sam before attending the Super League grand final, said his brother was unaffected by the criticism of his selection and performance at centre for England in the World Cup.

“The tournament has been massive and there’s been a lot of pressure around that,” he told PA. “I think he’s handled himself very well. To get in there in the first year of rugby union is pretty outstanding to be honest. I’m proud of him.

“The experiences that he’s had this last year have been awesome for him. I don’t think he’d change that now. For him to play in a World Cup as a dual international, I don’t think he’d regret that.”

Bath coach Mike Ford, who played halfback for the now defunct South Queensland Crushers, predicted earlier this week that Burgess would stay in rugby union until after the 2019 World Cup in Japan but England league coach Steve McNamara has no doubt he will return at some stage.

“At some point I am sure he will come back – whether that is six months, 12 months, three years, five years, who knows,” McNamara told the BBC. “It is the game he was brought up with.”

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