It was not going to stay a secret for very long and now it has been confirmed, with the South Sydney Rabbitohs confirming that English forward Sam Burgess has been released from the final two years of his contract – 2015 and 2016 – with 2014 to be his last in Rabbitohs colours.
For Burgess, the desire to be dual international has always been a strong one and with a chance to fulfill it in light of his move to English Union side Bath, the 2015 Rugby World Cup is a real possibility for him.
It was Burgess who sought out the club for a release and with the move all confirmed, the Bunnies were quick to ensure that should Burgess return to league, that the club would have first and last services on re-acquiring Burgess.
Despite his move to Bath from next year, one Burgess looks forward to, he knows that his work with the Bunnies is not yet complete and wants to focus on 2014 first.
â€œIâ€™m happy this has all been sorted out before the start of the season so that I can concentrate on my game and the team without any other things in the way,â€ Burgess said.
â€œAn opportunity presented itself to head back home to England and to pursue a chance to represent my country in two different sports.
â€œWith 2015 being a Rugby World Cup, it was an opportunity I had to pursue and I thank the Rabbitohs for allowing me to make this move and start the next chapter in my sporting career.
â€œBut all of that starts next season.
â€œWe have a great opportunity in front of us now as a group and Iâ€™ll be doing my best every week to help us win each game and hopefully improve on what weâ€™ve been able to achieve in the past two seasons.
â€œMy team mates, coaches, staff and the Rabbitohs Members have been a huge support to me over the past four seasons and hopefully I can repay that support in 2014.â€
With their 2014 targets set, Souths coach Michael Maguire knows that Burgess is focused on the task at hand – playing well in 2014.
â€œSam remains completely focussed on his job with the Rabbitohs this season,â€ Coach Maguire said.
â€œSam has made a real impact on the NRL over the past four seasons and his focus is on his job here at Souths, as weâ€™re all focussed on our goals for this year.â€
Burgess made a tough decision and had nothing but praise for Bath Rugby as he prepares for his move there for the 2015 season.
“Bath are a very ambitious Club, who have a talented young squad, brilliant coaches and a world class set-up and ethos, and I can’t wait to get my head down and start learning the game. Having said that, until the move, my focus will be completely on the Rabbitohs and helping them go one step further,” said Burgess.
Someone who has known Burgess for a while is Mike Ford, the current Bath head coach, and he believes that Burgess will have no problems fitting into the system.
“I’ve known Sam since his rugby league days in England and he is an exceptionally talented athlete,” said Ford.
“He’s hard working, a huge presence both on and off the field, and an ambitious young Englishman, all of which are qualities that we are building our squad around. I’ve no doubt Sam will fit in seamlessly here at Bath and we’re looking forward to having him join us and start making the transition.”