Stuart Lancaster is convinced Sam Burgess will remain a rugby union player despite growing speculation he will return to league after the England’s failure at the World Cup.
Odds have been shortened on Burgess ending his cross code adventure after just one year, with one bookmaker having stopped taking bets altogether amid reports he is set to join Leeds Rhinos.
England crashed out of the World Cup with a 33-13 defeat by Australia on Saturday with Burgess coming on as a replacment in the defeat.
The 26-year-old Yorkshireman has been dropped from the matchday 23 for Saturday’s final match against Uruguay, but Lancaster insists Burgess has not made his last Red Rose appearance.
“Genuinely, 100 per cent I didn’t know that story was out there. My last conversation with him was about him going back to Bath. He can’t wait to get stuck into the Premiership.
“He feels he’s made good strides as a player and he wants to continue to improve. Bath will be delighted to have him back and I can’t see anything changing in that regard.”
With Burgess missing out Lancaster has opted for the midfield trio of George Ford, Owen Farrell and Henry Slade.
The England coach added: “Sam wasn’t picked because I want to have a look at this combination for this game.
“I’ve watched George and Owen since they were 18 and looked at them as an option and combination. Slade has had to wait but he’s a great one for the future.
“It’s an exciting selection. George, Owen, Henry – these guys are great players and will be great players for the future.”