World Cup winner Jason Robinson believes England have lost a major talent following Sam Burgess’ decision to return to rugby league.
Burgess has signed a three-year deal to return to the NRL with the South Sydney Rabbitohs, less than two years after leaving the club to join Bath. The U-turn follows England’s early exit from the Rugby World Cup after Burgess came in for some heavy criticism, which Robinson believes was undeserved.
Robinson switched codes himself when he joined Sale Sharks from Wigan in 2000 after a brief spell with Bath in 1996, going on to make 51 appearances for England, including the 2003 World Cup final, and he knows just how hard the transition between the codes can be.
“I am just saddened that we didn’t get to see the best of Sam because I know this next year would have been the year that he really shone as a player,” Robinson told Sky Sports News HQ.
“I’m hugely disappointed to see him leave. He has only been in the game for 12 months. People don’t realise how hard it is to make the transition from league to union. But having done it before I know the hardest part of it is in the first 12 months, getting to grips with the basics, the technicalities of the game and it becoming second nature.”
Robinson also believes Burgess was not helped by the decision of Bath to play him as a forward, while England utilised him as a centre.
He added: “There are question marks with regard to what position, I don’t know if he has been frustrated with that. He plays back row for Bath and England have put him in the centre. He has also been heavily criticised as well during the Rugby World Cup and I’m not sure it is all his fault.
“I would have loved to see him play at least another year and just have in mind one position and get to grips with that.”
Source: Sky Sports