Sam Burgess has no regrets over his decision to switch codes, according to younger brother Tom.
The dual-code international has faced a barrage of criticism following his mixed involvement in the Rugby World Cup, just 12 months after moving from South Sydney, and speculation has grown that he could be about to cut short his stay in the 15-man code.
However, Tom, who has flown over from Sydney to link up with England Rugby League ahead of their autumn internationals, says his brother has been unaffected by the brickbats as he prepares to resume his club career with Bath.
“The tournament has been massive and there’s been a lot of pressure around that,” said Tom, who caught up with his brother in Manchester before England’s final World Cup pool match against Uruguay on Saturday.
“I think he’s handled himself very well, to get in there in the first year of rugby union is pretty outstanding to be honest. I’m proud of him.
“The experiences that he’s had this last year have been awesome for him. I don’t think he’d change that now.
“For him to play in a World Cup as a dual international, I don’t think he’d regret that.”
All four siblings – oldest brother Luke and twin George are still playing in the NRL – are known to be close but Tom insists he was not hurt by the stinging criticism of Sam in the media.
“At the end of the day, it’s their jobs to report about it,” he said.
“Everyone’s got their opinions and takes on things.
“I don’t get annoyed with it, it’s just a talking point. I don’t think it’s personal. They’ve got to make a story and it’s fair enough. It’s what sells papers, isn’t it?
“He knows how to handle it now. He’s pretty well drilled with the media and he’s got pretty thick skin.”
Despite having two years left on his contract with Bath, Burgess has been linked with both a return to Souths and a move to newly-crowned Super League champions Leeds and Tom admits the speculation is rife in Sydney.
“I get asked about a hundred times a day in Australia, especially from South Sydney fans,” he said.
“It is a bit of a talk of the town at the moment about whether Sam’s going to come back to league or not but at the moment it’s just speculation.
“It’s what everyone wants in league but at the end of the day it’s his decision and he’ll make the decision based on how he’s feeling. He’s signed up for two more years at Bath so that’s it.”
While Tom went to watch the Super League grand final at Old Trafford on Saturday evening, Sam rejoined Stuart Lancaster’s squad at the Etihad but will almost certainly link up with his old league teammates during England’s three-match Test series against New Zealand.
“He’ll most likely get to the London game,” Tom said.
“I think he’ll try to get to all of them if he can. He’ll even try to come into camp. He presented the jerseys last year and that was good. He pumps the boys up a little bit.”