Sam Burgess believes the lessons learned from his controversial spell in rugby union will stand him in good stead when he returns to the rugby league international scene later this month.
The 27-year-old South Sydney forward will return to the England team – following a three-year absence – as captain for the Four Nations Series and says he will be better for his experience in the 15-man game.
Burgess, a big-money buy for Bath in 2014, spent just 11 months in the 15-man code as a beacon for criticism while winning five caps for England under Stuart Lancaster before cutting short his stay in favour of a return to the Rabbitohs.
Burgess admits rugby league is “where I belong” after coming through a full season in the NRL, but insists his time in rugby union was “a great experience”.
“It’s good to be back with the English league team but I also had a great time with the English rugby union team as well,” Burgess said on Monday.
“People have an opinion of what it was like but people within knew what sort of environment we were in.
“For me I don’t have any regrets or anything, I’m just looking forward to getting back in an England rugby league jersey and doing my best for my country again.
“To be honest I didn’t really take a great deal of notice about what was going on around me (in rugby union).
“I was so focused on what I was doing at the time. I wasn’t exposed to what was going on so much. Nothing really affected me at all.
“I took a lot of character out of it, I learnt a lot.
“I learned probably a lot more about what it took to be successful, to be disciplined and to achieve certain goals. I learned a lot about personal character and team environment.”
Burgess got the nod to succeed the injured Sean O’Loughlin ahead of Canterbury skipper James Graham.
“(Burgess is) very worthy of the position. He leads from the front,” Bennett said.
Burgess, who led South Sydney in 2016 when Greg Inglis was absent through injury or representative duty, is “over the moon” and says he’ll realise a childhood dream when he leads out a team that is expected to include his twin brothers Tom and George.
Graham will captain England in their warm-up international against France in Avignon on Saturday as Burgess serves a one-match ban carried over from his last match of the NRL season.
Burgess will make his eagerly-anticipated return in England’s opening Four Nations clash against New Zealand at Huddersfield on October 29 and he admits he has some unfinished business against the Kiwis.