October 17, 2016 / 1:21 PM / a year ago

Sam Burgess named England rugby captain

LONDON (Reuters) - Sam Burgess has been named captain of England’s rugby league team, less than a year after switching codes from union, the England Rugby League said on Monday.

Britain Rugby League - England Training - Honourable Artillery Company, London - 17/10/16 England's Sam Burgess during training Action Images via Reuters / Matthew Childs

The 27-year-old forward, who has replaced the injured Sean O‘Loughlin as skipper, will lead England during the Four Nations tournament starting later this month.

Burgess left Australian NRL team South Sydney Rabbitohs in 2014 to join English rugby union club Bath on a three-year contract.

He was named in the England squad for the 2015 World Cup and started at centre in the crucial pool match defeat by Wales.

The hosts failed to qualify for the knockout stages and Burgess, whose selection and performances were widely criticised, announced in November that he was returning to the Rabbitohs for the 2016 season.

“It is an absolute honour and privilege to be asked to captain my country and to lead this group through the Four Nations tournament,” Burgess said.

“Although I am captain on the field for this tournament, there are a group of leaders in this squad and I know that we will work together and as hard as possible to try to achieve success on the pitch for England.”

England kick off their Four Nations campaign against New Zealand on Oct. 29 before facing Scotland and Australia.

“In Sam I believe we have got the right guy for the job whilst Sean is injured. He is a player and man who leads from the front and has the utmost respect from his team mates and fellow professionals,” England’s Australian head coach Wayne Bennett said.

Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond

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