ENGLAND prop Tom Burgess reckons his brother Sam will make a decision on his union future later this week.
South Sydney star Tom is back in the UK in readiness for England’s international with France and three Test Autumn series against New Zealand.
Of course, his elder brother Sam – who left Souths for Bath 12 months ago – has been at the centre of a maelstrom since England rugby union’s recent calamitous exit from the World Cup.
His inclusion in Stuart Lancaster’s side so soon after swapping codes brought much consternation from many in the 15-man game and speculation has intensified that Dewsbury-born Burgess could soon be heading back to rugby league.
Asked yesterday if he thought his sibling would stay in union, former Bradford Bulls player Burgess said: “You never know.
“It’s his decision at the end of the day and he’ll make a decision on how he’s feeling. He’s signed up for two more years at Bath so whatever that means...
“I’m sure he’ll go back to Bath this week and make a decision.
“At the moment, he’s signed up to Bath so that’s it.
“It is a bit of the talk of the town at the moment (in Sydney) if Sam’s going to come back to league or not. I’ll be honest, I get asked about 100 times a day in Australia especially by South Sydney fans.
“At the moment I think it’s just speculation.”
Tom attended Saturday’s Super League Grand Final at Old Trafford between Leeds Rhinos and Wigan Warriors.
He met his brother beforehand given he was in Manchester, too, as an unselected member of England’s final pool match against Uruguay at Etihad Stadium.
Burgess, 23, said: “We had a coffee and it was good to catch up and talk about life for an hour.
“He’s gone very well (in union) and I’m proud of him.
“The tournament has been massive, there’s been a lot of press around that and I think he’s handled it well.
“To get in the England World Cup squad in his first year in rugby union is pretty outstanding. He’s a hard-worker.”
Pundits have come out, though, to criticise him for his input even though he generally performed fine in his three matches.
“At the end of the day it’s their jobs to report about this,” maintained Tom.
“Everyone’s got their own opinion and different takes on it. I don’t get annoyed by it. That’s just the talking point. I don’t think it’s personal.
“They have to make a story and, fair enough, if it’s about Sam, they have to do. It’s whatever sells papers. He’s had different things in Australia and knows how to handle it now.
“He’s pretty well-drilled with the media. And he is pretty thick skinned.
“I don’t think he regrets going to union; the experiences he has had this last year have been awesome for him.
“I don’t think he’d change that now – to play in a World Cup, named as a dual-international…”
Tom Burgess’s twin brother George, who also plays at Souths, is normally in the England squad with him as was Sam before his departure last year while all four siblings – eldest Luke being the other – once played for the Rabbitohs in the NRL.
However, George misses the forthcoming Tests through injury and Luke has not been selected for a national squad by Steve McNarama since 2012 so Tom now finds himself as the sole Burgess for once.
“It is a bit funny,” he admitted.
“I’ve always had either Sam or George here. It’s good in a way though – you’re never going to get called George.
“Although I have been called it sometimes by Macca already.
“I’m looking forward to these games. It’s an opportunity for me to try be a bit more of a leader among the squad.
“I have been involved for two or three years now so hopefully I can try step up a bit more.”
Souths were knocked out of the play-offs last month so Burgess is desperate to get back out on the field with the national side.
That is all the more so as they face the Kiwis, the No 1-ranked team in the sport who knocked England out of their own World Cup in agonising circumstances at Wembley in 2013
“It is massive motivation now,” he said. “There was that World Cup semi against New Zealand and then last year we had to win against them in the Four Nations (and lost) so we’ve got a lot of history with these fellas.
“The last time we had this sort of formation (three Test series) Great Britain beat them 3-0 so they’ll be thinking about that too and wanting to turn that around.
“But I’m not ashamed to say I shed a few tears after losing with Souths and it’s great to get straight back out there now.”