Steve McNamara: Rugby League losing its 'jewel in the crown' in Sam Burgess
Last Updated: 17/02/14 10:02pm
Steve McNamara: Sam Burgess a huge loss
England coach Steve McNamara says rugby league is losing its "jewel in the crown" with Sam Burgess switching codes to union with Bath.
McNamara gave Burgess his Super League debut at Bradford in 2006, though the England forward then moved to South Sydney Rabbitohs.
McNamara will now prepare for the end-of-season Four Nations Series in Australia and New Zealand without the 25-year-old and he is hoping Burgess' brothers, Tom and George, - who are also at South Sydney - will fill the void left by their brother's absence.
Burgess agrees cross-code move
McNamara, who is working as an assistant coach at Sydney Roosters, is also confident that the Super League can continue to produce world-class players.
"We recognise Same is a huge loss to the game of rugby league, and particularly the England team, but we'll just have to deal with it," McNamara said.
"We produce fantastic players and, because we do such a good job in that area, other sports will look our players.
"It's very difficult to replace someone like Sam like for like, but you've seen the rise to prominence of George Burgess and Tom Burgess and there could be a few others who spring up as well.
"I notice St Helens re-signed Jonny Lomax recently on a four-year deal."