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Burrell to follow Burgess switch

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The forgotten 17-stone England centre weighing up a Super League switch

Luther Burrell could be line for a shock cross-code switch to rugby league when his contract runs out at Northampton Saints this summer.  

The former England centre is apparently set for more talks with Warrington Wolves, according to the latest edition of the weekly UK Rugby Paper.

The Super League outfit see him as a 2020 season replacement for Ryan Atkins, the 33-year-old who is in his testimonial year at the club. 

League isn’t an alien rugby code for Burrell. He played for Huddersfield Giants growing up before embarking on a successful union career that saw him play for Leeds and Sale before his 2012 switch to Northampton catapulted him into the England frame. 

However, it would be ironic if went on to become a Super League success in the coming years given that it was a cross-code signing in the other direction that massively damaged his stint with England. 

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Burrell had started the entire 10 matches of England’s 2014 and 2015 Six Nations campaigns only to find himself controversially axed from the World Cup squad to accommodate Sam Burgess, who has come into the union fold after winning the NRL title with South Sydney Rabbitohs. 

The inclusion of Burgess in the midfield dramatically backfired on Stuart Lancaster, who lost his job as England boss after they failed to progress from their pool at the tournament. 

Luther Burrell has been linked with cross-code switch to rugby league when his Northampton deal runs out this summer (Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)

Burrell briefly bounced back to win two more Test caps under Eddie Jones, Lancaster’s replacement, but he hasn’t had a look-in since a 2016 appearance away to Australia in Brisbane.  

The 31-year-old Northampton centre has claimed he never held a grudge against Burgess, who fled the England scene following the World Cup and returned to the Rabbitohs. Instead, Burrell took issue with his Lancaster, the current Leinster assistant, left him down. 

“I have got no grudge against Sam. He didn’t put himself in the team. He had an opportunity of a lifetime and he was able to live that dream,” said Burrell in a BBC interview shortly after Burgess decided to quit union and go back to league. “For me it was about wishing him the best of luck, my issue wasn’t with him whatsoever.

“He [Lancaster] let me down. That is how I feel about him. I have known Stuart a long time. I have a huge amount of respect for the bloke, what he’s done and what he has achieved. I didn’t think I had done anything to justify not getting selected.”

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The forgotten 17-stone England centre weighing up a Super League switch