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'Everything I touched turned to s***': Stunning Sam Burgess video

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

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Controversial England 2015 World Cup pick Sam Burgess has candidly spoken about how he struggled to come to terms with his retirement as a professional rugby player when arthritis in his shoulder forced him to quit in 2019. Signed by Bath in 2014, Burgess was chosen by Stuart Lancaster for the ill-fated World Cup that saw England eliminated at the pool stages. 


Not long after, Burgess headed back to take up rugby league again in Australia at the South Sydney Rabbitohs but that return ended painfully two years ago and his life has since spiralled, the 32-year-old losing his marriage and then his coaching job which resulted in him checking into rehab. 

He has now re-emerged to take part in SAS Australia and in a tense, emotional scene in the TV show he stunningly opened up on how difficult things have been, admitting to cheating on his wife, losing access to his kids, getting in trouble with the police, turning to alcohol and drugs, and falling out of work at the Rabbitohs. 

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The six-minute, seven-second clip from the show was riveting TV and the segment ended with Burgess hoping that his appearance will help him in his efforts to re-discover the core values he once had as a person.   

Burgess began by talking about his marriage which was over just as his playing career came to an end. “I didn’t really deal with it,” he admitted. “Two days after I retired I separated in my marriage. I don’t think I was the greatest husband at times. I embarrassed my wife. I had an affair in Melbourne. I was away on tour and regretfully that happened which would have been a tough place for Phoebe to be. 

“I’m not great with managing emotions. Anything to do with my team, myself, stress outside of football, press – I don’t mind that, I can manage it. But when it came to the emotional stuff of losing my two kids, my marriage breaking down and that put pressure on my ex-wife – I didn’t like that. I hated that I’d caused pain for other people that I couldn’t manage.”


Burgess went on to explain he took drastic action when life hit rock bottom earlier this year. “I have actually put myself into rehab for four weeks, 28 days of rehab just because my last 18 months have been crazy. Everything I touched turned to s***. I decided to get back on my feet, started coaching again, we were doing well and I got given a head coaching role. 

“Then a lot of things were put in the press about my ex-wife and ex-father-in-law. Consequently, I had to stand down from my roles and I lost it all again and since then, there is a police investigation into me about some behaviour she has claimed. In that time I totally lost myself a bit.

“I turned to drinking, taking drugs. I thought I could manage that but it got to a point where I then got pulled DUI with drugs in my system which was all over the press again. I was stopped from seeing my kids again and I just checked myself into rehab… I have lost it all. 

“I am hoping this course is going to help me see a bit deeper inside myself, go back to the core values, to the real person who I am. I have this theory of life that it is peaks and valleys and it’s up and downs and sometimes you just don’t know when the peak is at the top and you don’t know how far down the valley might go.”


Burgess last year reignited the controversy surrounding his inclusion by Lancaster to play for England in midfield at the World Cup, accusing George Ford, the player who lost out on selection versus Wales, of being sulky. When the tournament was over, Burgess returned to Bath, who were coached at the time by George’s father Mike, that he could no longer play for them and a switch back to league was soon agreed. 



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