Sam Burgess has officially made the decision to leave Rugby Union and return to the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
Many will suggest that Burgess’ stint in Rugby Union was a failure. Considering how much money he made in his short stint there, and the fact he walked into the English Rugby Union test team, I find it hard to call any of that a failure.
Burgess had to deal with massive amounts of criticism during his Rugby Union stint. There was a lot of talk about the impact he didn’t quite make, but there was also talk that he was used wrong at international level and that hampered his ability to have the impact people wanted him to.
England’s dismal failure at their home Rugby Union World Cup needed a scapegoat, and Burgess was the perfect fall-guy for the entire debacle.
I can see why Burgess made the decision to leave Rugby Union and return to Rugby League. One was something he really enjoyed doing. The other wasn’t. If money would be worked out, he was always going to come back to Rugby League.
South Sydney will now have to work very hard to get Sam Burgess back under their salary cap. They will have to move players on and massage the figures a little bit, but they will work all of that out.
Burgess will be on a big salary when he returns, and I would suggest that key players around the league will now set their sights a little higher when it comes to their own contract negotiations. In my opinion that is a good thing. I believe our star players in the NRL deserve more money.
Something to take into account is the fact the NRL salary cap rises every year, and going into the next broadcasting deal the NRL salary cap is expected to jump dramatically. In a few years time, $1.5 million for a top of the line player will be at the lower end of the salary scale.
Sam Burgess is still a fairly young player, and his short stint in Rugby Union will not have done too much damage to his ability or his fitness. He should be able to return to the Rabbitoh lineup and have a decent impact early on, and by season end he should be back to being one of the better forwards in the NRL.
I’m glad to see him return to the Rabbitohs. As a Rugby League supporter, I want to see all of the worlds best “Rugby” talent in the National Rugby League.