Sam Burgess could be set to join the England Test team in a coaching role, with Burgess currently in negotiations, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.
Burgess has joined fellow ex-captains Greg Inglis and John Sutton as a development coach at the Rabbitohs and could now be in line to become a coach on the international level.
With the coronavirus pandemic growing each day, international tests could be put on hold, but the NRL has remained committed in going ahead with its schedule, including the state of origin games which are set to take place in the middle of the year.
Burgess has been in talks with the England team, but a contract is yet to be signed. The coronavirus has put a dampen in England’s ability to put together a team. England head coach Shaun Wane, who took over the job from Wayne Bennett last month, had selected a squad of 31 players to play in a match at Old Trafford on March 23, but with the coronavirus precautions put in place by the Rugby Football League, that won’t be taking place.
Burgess’ addition to England’s coaching boost would be a welcome one, especially since England are trying to maintain their number three ranking in the world ahead of Tonga, who are making some noise around the rugby league world. Burgess played 24 tests for England and two for Great Britain, with most of those coming under Wayne Bennett before he was let go after a disappointing tour of New Zealand and Papua New Guinea. Burgess’ international career was limited due to a number of shoulder injuries.
Wane took over from Bennett after leading Wigan to the grand final in 2018 and was also a high performance coach for the Scottish rugby union team.
Australian coach Mal Meninga was hopeful that international football would still take place, with Australia set to take on England in an ashes tour, their first since 2003.
“The international program at the end of the year would give supporters something to look forward to,” Meninga said. “You talk about social welfare, the good of the game and the ability to raise revenue, I would imagine we wouldn’t be losing any money on those three Ashes games in England.
“I would think that would still be on the agenda if we don’t have a disruption through the year.”
NRL CEO Todd Greenberg has remained hopeful that even during the coronavirus outbreak, that internationals would not be called off and that it is too soon to make any decision on that front.
“We talked a lot about the international calendar, but no decisions have been made,” Greenberg said. “The commission has instructed all stakeholders that are impacted around international rugby league.
“There are a number of discussions we’re going to have to have in the weeks ahead. The commission today is focused on giving ourselves maximum flexibility to get through the season and fulfil our obligations.”