Sam Burgess has thrown in the towel on his code-swapping effort in English Rugby, leaving Bath on Thursday to return to Australia and to the sport of Rugby League, just one year into his three year contract.
His return from the much publicised move a year ago is raising more questions than it is giving answers.
In England, there is still debate about the wisdom of Burgess' inclusion in the national side for the World Cup and whether he has been made a scapegoat for the state of English Rugby which former World Cup winning coach Sir Clive Woodward is calling a 'laughing stock' Is Burgess' decision to return to Rugby League and to Australia a decision taken too early as it has been referred to by his Bath coach Mike Ford?
"He kept saying he wanted to go back home"November 8, 2015
The reason Burgess has given for his change of heart is the well cited phrase in cases such as these, that of "family reasons" but it has been reported that Burgess and Rabbitohs coach Michael Maguire were exchanging messages in reference to his future as early as September.
However, pressure from England's poor performance in the Rugby World Cup -- some responsibility for which has been laid at his door -- and much criticism of the state of English Rugby in general has perhaps made Burgess feel like the task was too big.
Burgess has been heavily criticised for his decision and his Bath team mates have certainly not made his departure any easier, rejecting a request to speak with them after his decision.
The welcome should be somewhat warmer in Australia as his former NRL club, the South Sydney Rabbitohs, has rejoiced in the prospect of having its 2014 premiership hero back in the fold.
Despite the euphoria from Michael Maguire, South Sydney has had to look for space in its salary cap to accommodate the three year Burgess contract.
According to the club's CEO John Lee, discussions have taken place over a couple of months and with the departure of Isaac Luke and Glenn Stewart, financial room was created for the purchase of a marquee player.
The terms of the three year deal were initially reported to be worth $4.5 million but on Friday the NRL was reported to have agreed to Burgess returning to the club on the same salary he was on before he left for England -- reported to be closer to $500,000 per season plus third-party deals.
Although most player movements within the NRL have already occurred, the Gold Coast Titans is one club which may be in the market for some players when South Sydney sorts out its list.
Chris McQueen, Dylan Walker and Tim Grant are the names reportedly in the mix for any off-season movement.
One thing is for certain, the Rabbitohs and their fans are excited with their new look ahead of the 2016 season!
Sam’s On Board… Are You?November 8, 2015