Sam Burgess hoping to become dual-code international after agreeing Bath deal
Last Updated: 17/02/14 3:58pm
Burgess agrees cross-code move
England rugby league international Sam Burgess has confirmed that he has agreed a cross-code move to Bath.
Burgess will see out the NRL season with the South Sydney Rabbitohs before being released from the remainder of his contract with the Australian club.
The 25-year-old has signed a three-year contract with Bath and he will link up with his new club in October.
Lancaster: Burgess will have to earn spot
Burgess now has his sights set on representing England at the 2015 Rugby World Cup, and he is relieved to have agreed the deal before the start of the NRL campaign.
"I'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," he said
"An opportunity presented itself to head back home to England and to pursue a chance to represent my country in two different sports.
"With 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.
Ford hails 'huge' sigining
"This has been a tough decision for me to make, as I've loved my time in Sydney with the Rabbitohs. However, I'm very excited about the challenge that this move offers me.
"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."
Burgess admitted later that he had struggled to keep the news to himself as the deal went through, and he tweeted on Monday: "Been a tough few weeks having to stay quiet.
"Thanks for everyone's support. Now down to business and playing this weekend, can't wait."
A Bath spokesman claimed that Burgess had rejected "far more lucrative offers from elsewhere" to move to the Recreation Ground.
Head coach Mike Ford said: "I've known Sam since his rugby league days in England and he is an exceptionally talented athlete.
"With 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."
"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."
Ford insists no decision has been made about which position Burgess should play - No 8 has been mentioned by some but inside centre appears to be more likely.
"We're not too precious and we're not going to put a position on him at this stage," Ford told Sky Sports News.
"We're going to wait until he gets over here before putting him in and pigeon-holing him into a position."
The Rabbitohs had reportedly been offered a £500,000 transfer fee by Bath to release the player from the remaining two years of his contract in Sydney.
It is also believed that the Rugby Football Union were willing to help fund the move, a plan that was opposed by Bath's Premiership rivals.
However, Bath appear to have now found the money elsewhere after confirming Burgess' signing.
The Rabbitohs issued a statement confirming the deal, but they gave no details of any financial settlement while claiming they had first and last option on Burgess if he decided to return to rugby league in the future.
The statement read: "The Rabbitohs recently received a request from Burgess for a release from his contract which, after long discussions, has been granted, with the Rabbitohs negotiating an undisclosed release fee.
"The Rabbitohs have also negotiated a clause in the release that the club has first and last offer on Burgess' services should he return to Rugby League in the future."