George Ford’s brother and Sam Burgess’ former captain Stuart Hooper have both hit back at the ex-England centre over controversial claims made about his time in rugby union.
The rugby league great stated his relationship with Ford deteriorated after he was selected to start against Wales in the 2015 Rugby World Cup, with Ford dropped to the bench.
Burgess, speaking on the House of Rugby podcast, claimed Ford stopped speaking to him in the build-up to the game Wales went on to win 28-25 at Twickenham.
He also claimed Ford’s father Mike, who was then his club coach at Bath, set out to “sabotage” Stuart Lancaster’s England regime.
“With George, Mike kind of infiltrated the camp – that is my take on it,” he said.
“After me starting against Wales, my relationship with George completely changed, he wouldn’t talk to me, he was a bit sulky.
“Knowing what I know now, I see the politics. George came on with 10 minutes to go to keep Mike and George happy. We didn’t need him on, we had the team to finish the game.”
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But George Ford’s brother Joey has hit back at Burgess’ claims in a post on social media.
He wrote on Twitter: “For what it’s worth and I know he’s my brother but George is the most selfless individual I have ever known. It’s crazy to suggest otherwise.
“69 caps is an awful lot to get if you’re not all about the team. I know countless teammates will agree.”
Bath director of rugby Hooper played with Burgess during his time at The Rec.
And Hooper has strongly denied Burgess’ claims that Bath “didn’t turn up” in the Premiership final prior to England’s humiliating World Cup exit.
He told The Telegraph: “I was obviously captain of that Bath side, the proudest day of my rugby life to lead those boys out at Twickenham. I genuinely never looked round and thought any one of my teammates did not give their all. I never felt that.
“Anyone who has worked with me as a captain or since as a director of rugby would know that is something I would have picked up on and dealt with at the time.”