Sam Burgess in talks to quit Bath and make rugby league return

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Sam Burgess is in talks to return to rugby league less than a year after joining Bath, with the Premiership side granting him time off to make a decision on whether to quit the 15-man code.

Burgess was the Rugby Football League’s guest of honour at the England rugby league team’s game against France in Leigh on Saturday and spent several hours in the company of high-profile RFL officials. He also visited the England changing room afterwards.

The RFL would neither confirm nor deny to the Guardian reports that Burgess was in talks to return to the sport on Wednesday , but it is understood he is in discussions about leaving union less than 12 months after his high-profile departure from league.

The BBC reported on Wednesday that Burgess had been given time off by Bath to decide upon a potential return to league, with a move back to Australia’s NRL and his former club, South Sydney Rabbitohs, the likely destination.

Crucially, any transfer fee payable to Bath would not count on Souths’ salary cap, according to reports in Australia, which was one obstacle feared to be blocking a return. Burgess’s selection for England’s Rugby World Cup squad was criticised, having only made his first union appearance for Bath last November. He did not play international rugby union until August this year, when he featured in England’s warmup game against France.

Reports in Australia this week suggested he was on course to return to the Rabbitohs less than a year after leaving Sydney, and with his younger brothers Thomas and George both signing new contracts with the club last week, talk has continued to intensify over a return to league.

If Burgess returns to the South Sydney club, owned by the Hollywood actor Russell Crowe, he will play for the side he helped to their first Grand Final triumph in 43 years prior to switching codes.

Reports have also suggested that Bath are now in the market for a blindside flanker, which would offer more evidence that Burgess is on his way.

Powered by article was written by Aaron Bower, for The Guardian on Wednesday 28th October 2015 22.59 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010