Our cards on the table from the start – Sam Burgess is a brilliant rugby player. We’d have him in our team every chance we got to play him. Never in doubt.
So what were Bath and then England up to? It always seemed to us that Bath had got it right. They were easing him into the game to let him get accustomed to the difference in the pattern of play that you get from League to Union. They also recognised that he is a natural back-row player – in the thick of it and knocking down anything that moves. Feed him raw meat and then release him on the opposition!
The added bonus is that his handling skills mean that when he has got the ball he can be very creative. When it came to England this was his downfall. For some bizarre reason they wanted to turn him into a centre. They fact that he achieved that in an international shirt says mountains for his ability.
Unfortunately we think the desire to turn Sam Burgess into a centre was more to do with trying to cover for the loss of Manu Tuilagi than in getting the very best out of Sam.
So what do we know at TheField? Well we are pleased to say that the great Sir Clive Woodward is pretty much with us and on the side of Sam. He has pointed out that the English game is at one of its “all-time lows” but that Sam is most definitely not to blame “for this mess”. That’s good enough for us.
Diplomatically Sam Burgess, from Dewsbury in West Yorkshire, says family reasons were behind his decision to return to South Sydney Rabbitohs after one season in rugby union. We can’t help snatching a whiff of “Us and Them”. “I say old chap, what’s this oik from League doing playing in one of our shirts? Does anybody know which school he went to?” We are sure we’re wrong.