Burgess has copped plenty of flak for his performances in this World Cup from people who really should know better.
The reality is that he should never been considered as a centre by England once Bath had abandoned that particular experiment half way through last season. He should only have been considered in the position he ended up playing for Bath last season – blindside flanker – although actual selection in that position would still have been a massive and unjustifiable leap of faith given his inexperience.
Having been selected as a centre and then inexplicably thrust into action as the starting 12 against Wales, he made as good a fist of it as he could – but the bottom line is that his selection in that position was simply unfair on him, unfair on the rest of the squad and unfair on those who missed out on selection.
Mike Ford at Bath believes Burgess will stay in Rugby Union and play at 6 next season. I hope that is true, that over time he develops into an international standard blindside flanker and that, whoever ends up as England’s next Head Coach, Burgess makes the England squad in the next couple of years on merit.
Given the nasty and vindictive attitude of much of the British media towards Burgess, however, I would not blame him at all if he jumped on the first bus back to Rugby League.