Matt Encarnacion, NRL.com
The NRL's worst kept secret has been made official: Sam Burgess will leave South Sydney at the end of the year in an attempt to represent England in the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
The Rabbitohs today announced that Burgess, 25, will complete the 2014 season with the club before being released from the final two years of his contract to join rugby union side Bath in the UK.
"I'm happy all this has all been sorted out before the start of the season so that I can concentrate on my game and the team without any other things in the way," Burgess said.
"An opportunity presented itself to head back home to England and to pursue a chance to represent my country in two different sports.
"With 2015 being a Rugby World Cup, it was an opportunity I had to pursue and I thank the Rabbitohs for allowing me to make this move and start the next chapter in my sporting career."
Coach Michael Maguire insists both Burgess and the team are now solely focused on this season.
"Sam remains completely focused on his job with the Rabbitohs this season," he said.
"Sam has made a real impact on the NRL over the past four seasons and his focus is on his job here at Souths, as we're all focused on our goals for this year."
Burgess joined the club in 2010 and has played 70 games so far, and was also appointed as co-captain for the 2012 season.
Last August, Burgess made history when he and siblings Luke, George and Tom were the first set of four brothers to play in the same Australian club side since 1910.