Bath maintain Sam Burgess will see out the remainder of his contract at the Recreation Ground despite Leeds Rhinos confirming they have made an approach to the English rugby giants about signing the 26-year-old.
Burgess is reported to be seeking a route back to the NRL with the South Sydney Rabbitohs after growing disillusioned with life in union and he returned to training on Monday upon the completion of a 10-day break in Spain.
The 2014 Clive Churchill Medallist returned from England’s disastrous World Cup campaign and made one replacement appearance for Bath on the opening weekend of the Aviva Premiership season before being given time off to gather his thoughts.
“Yes we expect Sam to stay. He has got two years left on his contract,” Bath head coach Mike Ford said.
Burgess, who completed Tuesday’s forwards training session, spoke to Ford upon his return from Spain.
When asked if Burgess had told him he wants to leave, Ford said: “No. We’ve had a good talk about everything, as we have had with all the World Cup players, asking what they want to do.
“Sam wanted to come in and the plan was for him to be picked on the bench for the first two Premiership games of the season and then start the next two.
“He came to training and played the first game, but then he came to training on the Tuesday after and that’s when it hit him.
“After the World Cup, it hits people in different ways. Everyone is different and with Sam it was a case of go away, take 10 days off. In that time there’s been a lot of speculation.
“Sam’s frame of mind since he’s come back has been brilliant. He’s come in and cracked on and has trained very well for these couple of days. It’s good.
“He went with the forwards, units split, line-outs, mauls, scrums. He looked like he was enjoying himself. It was bit of a defence day as well, which is up his tree. He’s been good.”
South Sydney face potential competition for Burgess from Super League champions Leeds, who say they have contacted Bath over his availability and have expressed a willingness to pay a transfer fee for the Dewsbury-born player.
“Certainly, we’d be interested if he became available,” Rhinos chief executive Gary Hetherington told Press Association Sport.
“Clearly South Sydney would be favourites but if that proves difficult, certainly for 2016, we would be keen and we’ve made that known to Bath. Sam is aware of that as well.
“We have a watching brief on it, as I would imagine would most Super League clubs.
“I think it would be a terrific boost for the Super League competition if any club could bring him into Super League.”
When asked about Leeds’ interest, Ford said: “Well they haven’t (been in contact) for a start. The one thing with Sam is that there’s always speculation following him.
“What’s shocked me a little bit is that it’s never died down since he first came over 12 months ago. There’s always a story to be written.
“I’ve just been told about the Leeds story. It’s all speculation because I’ve not heard anything about that.”