England World Cup scapegoat Sam Burgess has re-joined South Sydney Rabbitohs following an ill-fated 12 months in rugby union. The 26-year-old crossed codes last year when signing for Bath and made five appearances for the national team, including at the 2015 tournament.
Burgess was fast-tracked into the sport by the Rugby Football Union, but his selection after just 12 appearances for the Aviva Premiership side which came at the expense of several established centres including Northampton's Luthur Burrell was hugely controversial. Burgess started the crucial World Cup group game defeat to Wales, which despite his substitution mid-way through the second half intensified debate over his selection.
The National Rugby League champion has since cited family reasons as the driving force behind his decision which comes amid an RFU review into England's World Cup performance. The panel, led by chief executive Ian Ritchie, will also debate the future of Stuart Lancaster who will come under more pressure following Burgess' exit.
"I want to thank everyone at England Rugby and Bath for some great memories over the last 12 months," said Burgess, who had two years left on his Bath contract. "I must also thank Bath especially for granting my release to return home to my family who I have missed more than I could have imagined.
"I am also extremely excited to be joining back up with South Sydney. I cannot wait to get back into the Rabbitohs culture, full of great people and passionate members and supporters.
"I had a wonderful time in England and learnt a lot about the game of rugby union as both a back and a forward, and I have definitely developed as an all-round player and athlete after that. I'm now very lucky to be given the chance to come back to Souths and serve this club and its members."