Former-English national team coach Sir Clive Woodward believes English Rugby Union has become a “laughing stock”, after it was revealed that Sam Burgess was to leave Bath to return to Rugby League in Australia.
Burgess made his decision after the disappointing Rugby World Cup campaign from the hosts, a squad he was a part of.
Woodward does not blame the now South Sydney Rabbitohs player for what he calls an “all-time low” and a general “mess” for the English rugby union game.
The 2003 World Cup winning coach was not the only notable figure in the sport to speak out following the announcement, as current head coach for the England team Steve McNamara said Burgess could have gone on to become “one of the greats”.
Burgess scored four tries in his one year stay at Bath, having played a total of 21 matches for the Somerset team.
Woodward spoke about the RFU and the way they had been wrongly congratulating themselves in recent years for the direction English rugby had been heading in.
“The RFU has spent the last four years congratulating itself on the direction in which we’re heading, but the truth is we have marched confidently into a total mess.
“We are the laughing stock of not only world rugby but also sport and business. The rest of the world says those involved in English rugby are arrogant. I hate this reputation, but that is exactly what the RFU has been.
“The saddest part is the players and fans have been let down. To get it right on the field of play you have to get it right off the field.”