Sam Burgess has quit Bath and rugby union after less than a year in wake of England’s World Cup horror show – with return to South Sydney Rabbitohs a ‘done deal’

Sam Burgess has walked out on his three-year Bath contract after one year

His departure from union was speculated after the Rugby World Cup

Burgess’s return to the NRL’s South Sydney Rabbitohs is a ‘done deal’

Bath had insisted up to Thursday that Burgess is staying at the club

Sam Burgess has left Bath with immediate effect with a move back to his former rugby league club the South Sydney Rabbitohs believed to be ‘a done deal’.

The controversial cross-code star – whose 12-month career in union will be remembered as an abject failure – reported for training at Bath on Monday following a 10-day break to ‘spend time with his family’.

Head coach Mike Ford insisted on Wednesday he would be staying at the Recreation Ground.

Bath owner Bruce Craig, who spent more than £275,000 in luring Burgess to union last year – on top of paying an annual salary of £500,000 – was also adamant on Wednesday the 26-year-old would honour the remaining two years on his contract.

But despite their assurances, speculation over Burgess’ future has refused to go away, following reports last week he had asked to leave.

Burgess faced widespread criticism after his inclusion in England’s Rugby World Cup campaign

Burgess returned to Bath on Monday after taking leave in Spain to gather his thoughts about his future

England’s rugby league coach Steve McNamara has heralded the return of Burgess to the code.

‘It’s great for rugby league. I am tremendously proud of the fact that he had never played a game of rugby union, went across there and played for his country,’ said McNamara, whose side won their first in a three-Test series against World Cup runners-up New Zealand.

‘It was an outstanding achievement. What an outstanding rugby league player he is and is going to be. It will be great for us to have him available in the future.