Sam Burgess believes agendas both inside and outside English rugby union are “actually tearing it to shreds”, with the departed cross-code star saying that “certain people didn’t want England and Stuart Lancaster to succeed” and that “it’s not a productive place to be”.
“Some ex-players just kept letting rip … It’s almost like they don’t want anyone else to do well in the jersey … I find that really disappointing and I didn’t want to stay in a sport like that.”
Burgess described as “unfair” the criticism of the RFU by such as Woodward, Carling and Will Greenwood, writing that he “disagreed with this idea that I have been let down or treated badly”.
“The RFU have not treated me badly,” he told the Daily Mail.
Burgess added that he felt he “fully deserved” his inclusion in England’s Rugby World Cup squad, and he thought that criticism of his call-up came from “a lot of people outside the England camp [whom] had an agenda against both England and in some circumstances, me”.
“Certain ex-players had an agenda and sections of the media had an agenda, too. I also think certain coaches not involved with England had an agenda. Slowly but surely, when you are trying to get support within the team and the voices from outside with an agenda are so strong, it’s too powerful. No matter what I did, I always felt that I was fighting a losing battle.
“That was an upsetting factor to me; that people who are supposed to love the game are actually tearing it to shreds. I felt like certain people didn’t want England and Stuart Lancaster to succeed. They were after him — so aggressively. He could never do a thing right, no matter what. I was right in the middle of that and it is unbelievable. It’s not a productive place to be.
“Some ex-players just kept letting rip. It was a losing battle from day one. I couldn’t believe it. It’s almost like they don’t want anyone else to do well in the jersey. That’s definitely the feeling I got in rugby union. And since the tournament, there have been players coming out in the press, leaking stories. I find that really disappointing and I didn’t want to stay in a sport like that. It makes it harder to build on when people from the inside are crumbling.”
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