Bath are adamant that Sam Burgess will see out the remainder of his contract at the Recreation Ground.
Burgess is thought to be seeking a route back to rugby league with the South Sydney Rabbitohs after growing disillusioned with life in union but he returned to training at Bath on Monday upon the completion of a ten-day break in Spain.
The 26-year-old returned from England’s disastrous World Cup campaign and made one replacement appearance for Bath on the opening weekend of the Aviva Premiership season before being given time off. “Yes we expect Sam to stay. He has got two years left on his contract,” Bath head coach Mike Ford said.
Burgess, who completed yesterday’s forwards training session, spoke to Ford upon his return from Spain.
When asked if Burgess had told him he wants to leave, Ford said: “No. We’ve had a good talk about everything, as we have had with all the World Cup players, asking what they want to do.
“Sam wanted to come in and the plan was for him to be picked on the bench for the first two Premiership games of the season and then start the next two.
“He came to training and played the first game, but then he came to training on the Tuesday after and that’s when it hit him.
“After the World Cup, it hits people in different ways. Everyone is different and with Sam it was a case of go away, take ten days off. In that time there’s been a lot of speculation.
“Sam’s frame of mind since he’s come back has been brilliant. He’s come in and cracked on and has trained very well for these couple of days. It’s good.
“He went with the forwards, units split, line-outs, mauls, scrums. He looked like he was enjoying himself. It was a bit of a defence day as well, which is up his tree. He’s been good.”
South Sydney face potential competition for Burgess from Super League champions Leeds, who say they have contacted Bath over his availability and have expressed a willingness to pay a transfer fee. “Certainly, we’d be interested if he became available,” said Rhinos chief executive Gary Hetherington. “Clearly South Sydney would be favourites but if that proves difficult, certainly for 2016, we would be keen and we’ve made that known to Bath. Sam is aware of that as well.
“We have a watching brief on it, as I would imagine would most Super League clubs. “I think it would be a terrific boost for the Super League competition if any club could bring him into Super League.”
When asked about Leeds’ interest, Ford said: “Well they haven’t (been in contact) for a start. The one thing with Sam is that there’s always speculation following him. I’ve just been told about the Leeds story. It’s all speculation.”