Sam Burgess accuses Mike Ford of using him as 'pawn' to play politics during England's dire 2015 Rugby World Cup campaign

Sam Burgess accuses Mike Ford of using him as 'pawn' to play politics during England's dire 2015 Rugby World Cup campaign

Former Rugby league star Sam Burgess has spoken out on the fallout from the 2015 World Cup as well as his swift departure from Bath in the aftermath and has called his then-Bath coach Mike Ford "a snake" and accused him of using Burgess as a "pawn" to play politics during England's dire 2015 Rugby World Cup campaign.

The 31-year-old was included in England Rugby World Cup squad on home soil having made his debut in union just nine months prior. 


"Mike Ford wanted the England coaching job," Burgess told the House of Rugby podcast.

"I had to tell him I couldn't play for him anymore. I'd lost respect for him."


Burgess, who returned to rugby league following the World Cup after just one season in union, claims Ford stoked controversy around his selection by discussing the issue in the media despite Burgess' requests not to.

“I went into the World Cup and the politics went through the roof,” he said. “You can all read between the lines. I think Mike Ford wanted the England job and George playing ten, and Owen (Farrell) at ten and me twelve, there was a lot going on behind the scenes that people don’t quite understand that influenced a lot of outside opinions.


“England picked me at twelve and that is where the lines started getting murky and the politics were played and I was just right in the middle of it. It doesn’t take a genius to work out. We played the first game against Fiji and Brad Barritt and JJ were twelve and 13. JJ got injured and then for game two against Wales they started Owen at ten, me at twelve and Brad at 13 and put George on the bench whereas in game one George was at ten.

“This is where it got interesting because George is on the bench against Wales and George is upset with me during the week thinking I had orchestrated this. I went, ‘How could I orchestrate that?’ Mike’s then done his thing in the press and it just got a bit murky. Then we lose the game against Wales which was bananas, I really don’t know how we lost"

Full Interview with the House of Rugby podcast.

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