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10th Nov 2015

Bath coach Mike Ford claims Sam Burgess ‘didn’t have the stomach’ for union

Parting shot

Gareth Makim

The end to the Sam Burgess experiment continues to be an acrimonious one.

The England World Cup player’s decision to abandon his career in union to return to the league game has left a bad taste in the mouth for many, with his club coach Mike Ford the latest to deliver a parting shot towards the 26-year-old.

The Bath boss has proclaimed his disappointment with Burgess’s return to Australian league side South Sydney, insisting the player ‘didn’t have the stomach’ to bounce back from the scrutiny of his play at the World Cup and fight for his union career.


Burgess has previously admitted his ‘heart just isn’t in it’ when asked about remaining in the 15-man code, and the frustrated Ford, a former Ireland defence coach, said: “All I know is that he didn’t have the stomach to see out his contract.

“For me this was the time to roll his sleeves up and become the player that I thought he could be – and he chose not to. You don’t know what he was thinking, it wasn’t until the final talk I had with him that I felt there was nothing more I could do.

“But I did speak to him about that and about what a fantastic player he could be, and about the investment the club and the players had made in him, and that it was time to repay that.

“But he chose differently.”

While England had been playing Burgess at centre, Bath, who face Leinster in the pool stages of this year’s European Cup, had deployed him in the back row, and today moved to replace him in their squad with dynamic Scotland number eight David Denton.