English rugby union is a “laughing stock” after Sam Burgess left Bath to return to rugby league, says former national coach Sir Clive Woodward.

Burgess, 26, made the decision having been part of the England squad which had a poor World Cup as hosts.

Woodward did not blame Burgess “for this mess” but said the English game was at one of its “all-time lows”.


England rugby league coach Steve McNamara said Burgess “could’ve been one of the greats” had he stayed.

Burgess, from Dewsbury in West Yorkshire, played 21 games for Bath after joining them just over a year ago, scoring four tries.

Having made his England debut in August, he was selected for the World Cup ahead of Northampton centre Luther Burrell, who had looked to have established himself in the team after playing in all five of their Six Nations matches earlier in the year.

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