Sam Burgess has revealed why his departure from Bath so soon after England’s failed 2015 Rugby World Cup campaign stemmed from a bitter breakdown in his relationship with Mike Ford.
Nine months on from forgoing his legendary status with Rugby League to cross codes and sign for Bath, Burgess was a surprise inclusion in Stuart Lancaster’s squad which would fail to reach the knockout stages – becoming the first host nation to do so.
Burgess had signed a three-year deal, reported to be worth over £500,000-per-season, at the Rec and became a source of blame for England’s failed World Cup.
Now retired, Burgess accused Ford of undermining Lancaster’s position and revealed the frank conversation he had with the then-Bath head coach.
“Mike Ford wanted the England coaching job. He tried to sabotage Stuart Lancaster and his decision-making and coaching methods,” Burgess told the House of Rugby podcast.
“I had to tell him I couldn’t play for him anymore. I’d lost respect for him.
“I just felt that people behind the scenes were playing a deeper game.”
Working to serve his own ‘agenda’, Burgess went further to state his belief that George Ford’s presence within the England squad was an extension of Mike Ford.
Burgess had started for England in their second pool match of the World Cup against Wales, and were winning 25-18 at the time he was replaced by Ford with ten minutes remaining.
The loss to Wales which ensued was made more frustrating for Burgess when he was omitted from the starting line-up from the following match against Australia.
“After me starting against Wales, my relationship with George completely changed. He wouldn’t talk to me and was a bit sulky, and Mike was a bit shady in the background and then we lost and fell out of the World Cup,” Burgess said.
“I went back to Bath and I couldn’t sit in the same room as Mike.
“I went straight into his office and said ‘Mike I don’t trust you, I think you have been playing games behind my back, you have used me as a bit of a pawn in your game of chess. I can’t put my boots on and play for you every week’.
“I will never forget his face when I said, ‘I can’t respect you, I think you are a bit of a snake’. I remember the quiver that I got from him.”
Comments are closed on this article.