(Reuters) – Former England rugby union international Sam Burgess has said “individual egos” and “selfish players” were responsible for the host side’s dismal display at the 2015 World Cup.
The 29-year-old, who made the switch from rugby league in 2014, said he continued to receive criticism for his displays, three years after England crashed out at the group stage following defeats to Wales and Australia.
“If people actually rewatched the games I participated in you will see I added to the team,” Burgess, who switched back to rugby league soon after the tournament, said on his verified Twitter account.
“What cost us an early exit was individual egos and selfish players not following our leader.”
England, who beat Fiji in their World Cup opener, were leading Wales 25-18 with 10 minutes remaining when Burgess was replaced, and the team went on to lose 28-25.
Their hopes of progressing ended with a 33-13 defeat by Australia in their penultimate game, leading to head coach Stuart Lancaster and his assistant Andy Farrell leaving their roles in the aftermath of the campaign.
“Tournaments are not won by the coaching staff or one player. It takes a commitment from the full group,” Burgess, who was tried at centre and in the back row for England before returning to the South Sydney Rabbitohs in Australia, added.
“I guarantee you this, I was committed but others had their own agendas. I have fond memories of my time in RU (union).”
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by John O’Brien)