Former England player Sam Burgess has revealed the turmoil that unfolded in the England camp before and after the infamous 2015 World Cup defeat to Wales.

Rugby league great Burgess claimed everything turned sour after he was selected to start against Wales, with current England star George Ford dropped to the bench.

Speaking on an explosive episode of the House of Rugby podcast, he revealed Ford stopped speaking to him in the build-up to the Wales game that ended in a shock 28-25 defeat.

And he believes Ford's father Mike, who was then his club coach at Bath, set out to "sabotage" Stuart Lancaster's England regime.

“I just felt that people behind the scenes were playing a deeper game,” Burgess explained. “I think the biggest thing was that Mike Ford wanted the England coaching job.

“With George being his son, I think that infiltrated into the camp. After me starting against Wales, my relationship with George completely changed. He wouldn’t talk to me, he was a bit sulky.

"Things got murky when we lost that game against Wales, which was bananas, I really don't know how we lost but we did.

“We lost, fell out of the World Cup and that’s when I went back to Bath and I couldn’t sit in the same room as Mike. I had to tell him I couldn’t play for him anymore. I’d lost respect for him.”

Burgess said he became infuriated with Mike Ford's continued public comments on the debate around his controversial international selection so soon after switching codes. And he was unhappy with the coach's assertions he was a flanker and would play there rather than centre for Bath.

He believes he was used as "a pawn" in Ford's "game of chess", describing him as "a snake".

England led 25-18 in the 70th minute of the match that would set them on the road to a humiliating group stage exit from their own World Cup.

When Burgess was brought off for Ford, they went on to to lose 28-25.

George Ford (l) and Sam Burgess
George Ford (l) and Sam Burgess

Reflecting on that decision, Burgess said: "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."

Both Mike and George Ford, who played for Bath at the time, were critical of Burgess' decision to leave rugby union shortly after the World Cup, with Mike saying he lacked "the stomach" to fight for his future in rugby union.

Burgess, 31, has since retired from rugby league.