Burgess decision likely to change rules - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Burgess decision likely to change rules

By Steve Jancetic 05/05/2010 08:53:56 PM Comments (0)

International rugby league's governing body are seeking a solution to the situation which has forced South Sydney superstar Sam Burgess to give up an English Test jersey due to NRL commitments.

Burgess shelved plans to return to England for the June 12 Test against France in Leigh after a meeting with Rabbitohs coach John Lang.

While disappointed not to be making the trip back home, Burgess said he respected the wishes of the Rabbitohs, though Rugby League International Federation chairman Colin Love said plans were afoot to take the decision out of the hands of clubs.

The RLIF board will meet in Melbourne on Thursday ahead of Friday's Australia-New Zealand Test at AAMI Park, and high on the agenda will be the setting out of a representative calendar for which players must be released.

"I think there has to be some guidelines set as to which matches qualify for that status where the players have to be released and those that don't," Love told AAP on Wednesday.

"You couldn't have a country playing a match every second week and expecting the clubs to release the player on that basis.

"It's a difficult one because you want to encourage to have the best players available for international competition but you also have to consider the interests of the clubs, who are playing these players big money."

Few are on bigger money than Burgess, who has lived up to the hype during the early stages of his time with the Rabbitohs.

He would have been an automatic inclusion in the England side to face the French, but will now have to bide his time until the end of season Four Nations tournament in Australia and New Zealand to wear the red and white of his homeland.

"I'd love to go and play it, but this year it's just not going to happen - maybe in future years I'll go over," Burgess said.

"We spoke about it together and came to the decision ... I wanted to go but I wanted to do what John Lang wanted me to do - I have a lot of faith in what he says.

"He wanted me to stay, we've got an important game against the Broncos that week up there."

Burgess dismissed the notion that playing against France was not seen as important as playing against the likes of Australia and New Zealand.

"It's an international - regardless of who the opposition is, I still want to be there and be part of the set-up," he said.

One player who will be there is Wests Tigers backrower Gareth Ellis, who won't miss any NRL games as a result of the trip with the Tigers enjoying the bye that weekend.

He sympathised with Burgess' plight, admitting the trip could be quite taxing on the body.

"I think it's disappointing for him personally, it's a massive honour to play for your country, regardless of who you're playing against ... a Test match is a Test match and it's an honour to represent your country," Ellis said.

"It's a long flight, it just takes a lot out of you, so the knock on effect might not only be just the one week, it might be the week after as well."

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2020 AAP

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