Sam Burgess has said “individual egos” and “selfish players” were to blame for England’s painful 2015 World Cup campaign, as he hit back at his critics on social media.
Burgess was part of an England squad that became the first World Cup host nation in history to crash out of the tournament in the pool stage.
The rugby league star spent a one-year spell in rugby union after a brief change of codes, joining Premiership club Bath and winning five union caps for England in 2015, including three at the World Cup.
He made 21 appearances for Bath, but decided to call it quits after one season and returned to rugby league following the World Cup, signing a lucrative deal with South Sydney Rabbitohs.
But the World Cup did more than spell the end of Burgess’ union career.
Head coach Stuart Lancaster and defence specialist Andy Farrell, who will succeed Joe Schmidt as Ireland boss after next year’s World Cup, were among those who departed 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 Twitter posts on Tuesday, Burgess has hit out 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 and cannot wait to see them as they prepare for the 2019 World Cup in Japan.”