Bath must now wait for Sam Burgess to play in Grand Final

Burgess helped Rabbitohs reach NRL Grand Final

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The Independent Online

Bath rugby union club will have to wait another week before they get their hands on England rugby league forward Sam Burgess after he helped South Sydney Rabbitohs reach the NRL Grand Final for the first time in 43 years.

Burgess is switching codes at the end of the season in an attempt to break into Stuart Lancaster’s rugby union World Cup 2015 squad.

However, England rugby league head coach Steve McNamara, who is also the Sydney Roosters’ assistant, will be free to focus on the looming Four Nations Series – contested by England, Australia, New Zealand and Samoa in  November.

The Rabbitohs came from  12-0 down to beat reigning champions the Roosters 32-22 in front of a crowd of 52,592 at ANZ Stadium, where they will face the winners of today’s semi-final between Canterbury Bulldogs and Penrith on Sunday week.

The Roosters’ defeat signalled the end of the distinguished career of former Australia full-back Anthony Minichiello, who scored two of his side’s four tries, and also brought Sonny Bill Williams’ second stint in the NRL to a close as he heads back to rugby union in New Zealand.

Meanwhile, former Leigh winger Andy Thornley has been banned from any involvement in rugby league until June after being found guilty of breaching the sport’s betting rules.

Thornley, 25, admitted placing a large number of bets on rugby league matches through various betting accounts, including matches involving Leigh, when he appeared before an independent tribunal on Thursday evening.

The tribunal found Thornley to be in breach of the Rugby Football League’s operational rules. He is the fourth Championship player to be banned this year for betting on matches.