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11 Dec 2018, Edition - 1246, Tuesday

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Sports

Sam Burgess: ‘Egos and selfish players’ behind England’s 2015 World Cup exit

The Guardian

Sam Burgess has claimed “individual egos” and “selfish players” contributed to England’s painful 2015 World Cup.

Burgess was part of the England squad who crashed out in the pool stage – the first host nation in Rugby World Cup history to suffer such a fate.

The coach, Stuart Lancaster, and defence specialist, Andy Farrell, who will succeed Joe Schmidt as the Ireland coach after next year’s World Cup, were among those who left Twickenham in the aftermath of events three years ago.

Lancaster has gone on to mastermind Leinster’s push to the summit of European rugby, while Farrell has received widespread acclaim for his work with Ireland and the British and Irish Lions.

In a series of tweets on Tuesday, rugby league player Burgess, who won five union caps for England in 2015, including three at the World Cup, during a stint with Bath, has responded following criticism on social media of his role in that tournament.

Burgess tweeted: “I seem to be getting a few tweets regarding the Rugby WC in 2015….Still. If people actually rewatched the games I participated in you will see I added to the team. What cost us an early exit was individual egos and selfish players not following our leader. Which …

“Essentially cost the coach and other great men their jobs. Tournaments are not won by the coaching staff or one player. It takes a commitment from the full group. I guarantee you this, I was committed but others had their own agendas. I have fond memories of my time in RU.

“And some great friends. One day I will tell my side of the story, but for now I love watching England Rugby and cannot wait to see them as they prepare for the 2019 WC in Japan.”

Burgess returned to rugby league following the 2015 World Cup, signing a lucrative deal with South Sydney Rabbitohs.

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