© AFP/File | Sam Burgess shouldered much of the blame when England exited the 2015 World Cup in the group stages © AFP/File | Sam Burgess shouldered much of the blame when England exited the 2015 World Cup in the group stages

Burgess blames egos for England's 2015 World Cup exit

By: AFP
Wed, Nov. 28, 2018
SYDNEY (AFP) - Rugby league star Sam Burgess has defended his brief foray into rugby union, saying egos and selfishness derailed England's 2015 World Cup campaign, not his presence.

Burgess was a high-profile recruit for England ahead of the tournament and shouldered much of the blame when Stuart Lancaster's men became the first host nation to exit in the group stages.

Critics said the league convert's fast-track into international rugby disrupted team unity, while supporters said he was a convenient scapegoat for England's many failings.

Burgess, who returned to the 13-a-side code with South Sydney Rabbitohs soon after England's elimination, was silent on the issue until this week, when he responded to goading on social media.

"If people actually re-watched the games I participated in, you will see I added to the team," he tweeted.

"What cost us an early exit was individual egos and selfish players not following our leader, which essentially cost the coach and other great men their jobs."

Lancaster and his assistants -- including defence guru Andy Farrell, who is set to take over as Ireland coach next year -- were sacked after the 2015 failure.

But Burgess said they were let down by some members of the England playing group, who he did not name.

"Tournaments are not won by the coaching staff or one player," he said. "It takes a commitment from the full group. I guarantee you this, I was committed but others had their own agendas."

He added "one day I will tell my side of the story", saying he had enjoyed his time in rugby union and was looking forward to watching England at next year's World Cup in Japan.

Former union teammates Richard Wigglesworth and Luther Burrell expressed support for Burgess on social media.

"Wouldn't even bother replying to any of that shit pal. The right people know!" Wigglesworth tweeted.
 
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