Former England centre under investigation Down Under
NEWS: It’s emerged that former England Rugby union centre, Sam Burgess, is being investigated by a New South Wales organised crime unit.
“An investigation has been commenced by the organised crime squad under Strike Force Irrabella,” NSW police said in a statement.
This news follows on from an explosive article released in The Australian which makes serious allegations against the South Sydney Rabbitohs league star.
Burgess was the Rabbitohs’ leading forward from his NRL debut in 2010 until he retired last year. He represented England five times, including at the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
The allegations of drug usage and domestic violence has caused Burgess to stand down from his development coaching role with the club ahead of their elimination final against the Newcastle Knights although Burgess himself strongly denies any involvement.
Mark O’Brien, Burgess’ legal representative has denied the allegation made against his client in the report: “The allegations are false and constitute an indefensible defamation against my client,” O’Brien said in a statement made to the Australian media.
However, Burgess’s father-in-law, Mitch Hooke, in speaking to The Australian has claimed he witnessed his son-in-law act violently towards his pregnant daughter Phoebe after he came home drunk in November 2018.
It’s also been alledged by his wife Phoebe that Burgess had a gambling problem and spent up to $25,000 per week on betting apps which equates to an annual spending of around $1,000,000.
At the height of his playing prowess in 2017, the South Sydney Rabbitohs star was paying up to $70,000 a day into betting accounts including Sportsbet, Neds, TAB, Crownbet, Beteasy, Bet365 and William Hill according to The Australian.
Burgess had plenty of wins, with credits exceeding $900,000 during the same one-year period. In a three-day period in June 2017 he paid $66,000 into betting accounts and recouped $45,000.
The newspaper also reported that Burgess received medical attention that night and South’s chief medical officer Andrew McDonald allegedly injected him with a liquid tranquiliser which had been obtained through a prescription in the name of a third party.
“I don’t have any comment at this stage,” McDonald said in response to questions submitted by the newspaper.
The South Sydney Rabbitohs issued the following statement on Friday: “The allegations in today’s The Australian newspaper are very concerning and the club is treating them with the utmost seriousness. There is no place in our society for violence, harassment or abuse against women. If anyone is found guilty of allegations of this nature, the club will take the strongest possible action.
“The club takes issues of drug use very seriously and has well-established policies and procedures in place around the use of performance-enhancing or illicit/recreational/prescription drugs. The Club will continue to work closely with ASADA and the NRL which administer testing of the players. The Club will also continue to work with the playing group to support their wellbeing and educate them about drug use.
“The Rabbitohs welcome the NRL Integrity Unit’s investigation in relation to these allegations and will fully cooperate with the investigation. The Club is supportive of Sam Burgess’s decision to step down from his role at the Club while the NRL Integrity Unit investigation is underway.”
Coach Wayne Bennett has strongly denied an allegation in the report the club covered up the alleged misconduct.
Sources: Rugby Pass & The Australian