Sam Burgess is understood to have left Bath Rugby with immediate effect paving the way for his expected return to the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
On Wednesday Bath owner Bruce Craig was adamant Burgess would be a Bath player for the remainder of his contract – he was tied to the club until 2017 – and was optimistic the cross-code star would re-sign until the 2019 World Cup. But in the space of just 24 hours, Burgess has cut his ties with Bath.
Burgess apparently sent his Bath team-mates a message on Thursday morning to bid farewell and has reached an agreement with the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
BBC Sport reported on Thursday afternoon that Bath have confirmed the news of his departure.
Reports in Australia suggest he could earn almost £700,000 a year on rejoining Souths, making him the NRL’s highest-paid player.
The news brings an end to Burgess’ one-year career in union. He collected five England caps, three coming in the 2015 Rugby World Cup, and made 17 appearances for Bath in the Aviva Premiership. His time with Bath was predominantly in the back-row but he started his career in the centres, a position England utilised him in for their dismal World Cup campaign.