18 Feb 2014

McNamara admits Burgess a great loss

11:23 am on 18 February 2014

The England rugby league coach Steve McNamara says Sam Burgess' decision to switch to union is a blow to league.

Burgess will leave his NRL club the South Sydney Rabbitohs at the end of the upcoming season to join English union club Bath, to allow him to fulfil a dream of becoming a dual international and playing in next year's Rugby World Cup.

Burgess started his career as a 17-year-old at Bradford, where he played under McNamara, before agreeing a move to Australia to join NRL side South Sydney Rabbitohs in 2009.

McNamara says Burgess is the "ultimate physical specimen" but has warned the player he faces a big challenge in making a success of himself in union.

Asked whether Burgess could make England's squad for the World Cup, McNamara says he has certainly got the attributes and attitude to do that.