Sam Burgess was arguably one of England’s poster boys of the recent Rugby League World Cup; a player that was also pretty central to helping Steve McNamara build a team that can challenge the Australians again.

So seeing him go over to union cannot be dressed up as anything less than a blow, but not significant enough to cast a dark shadow of what is warming up to be a cracking season.

League will do what it inevitably does and produce another Burgess – if there are not enough of them already!

Yes, there will be some supporters of our game who will feel it inevitable that most of our marquee players are going to swap codes. It has been but a trickle since union went openly professional in 1995 but that never stops the prophets of doom from making their grim declaration that the end is nigh for league.

The sport of rugby union is not the bogeyman here – and most folk seriously involved in that code at a high level have a real, genuine respect for the game of league and the skills that it instils into its athletes.

That is clearly why the likes of England boss Stuart Lancaster, and countless of predecessors, have constantly studied league tactics and techniques. Their interest is not simply about plucking out the most gifted athletes from league ranks and then seeing if they can get the square peg to fit the round hole with a bit of tweaking and manoeuvring.

So, without wishing to join the panic, we do nevertheless have to address the issue as to why a presumably well-paid star of the elite NRL competition has decided to chuck it in and try his hand at a code that he never played at a serious level.

Here is a bloke built like a brick out-house, but with no training in the darks arts of proper scrummaging, rucking, mauling and line-out, and is leaping into his new sport with a view to playing in the centres.

But Burgess’ suitability for that role is not rugby league’s concern now. What is, however, are his reasons for jumping ship. As much as Dr Koukash says a marquee signing exemption would stop rugby league losing its big stars, on the face of it it doesn't appear as though Burgess has gone for the money so that would have not made any difference.

Rather it appears that Burgess has looked at the profile that England’s rugby union players get; the television news coverage, the endorsements, the column inches, recognition and, dare I say, celebrity status and thought ‘I want some of that.’ Just compare the coverage between rugby league’s World Cup with union’s autumn friendlies and you probably see how tough it is for the 13-man code to get recognition beyond the die-hard aficionados.

It is the age old thing – nobody beyond the M62 belt knew who Jason Robinson was when he was running in tries for fun for Wigan. But one try for England in the 2003 Rugby Union World Cup Final catapulted him into the realms of a national treasure.

There is no doubt Burgess has the 2015 World Cup in his sights and maybe even the 2017 British Lions tour to New Zealand. These are massive events. League clearly cannot compete with that in terms of national and global exposure. But rather than throw our hands in the air and hope Burgess fails and comes back to league with his tail between his legs, it should concentrate RL’s international governing body’s efforts to set in stone a meaningful international programme comprising a World Cup every four years with a regular Ashes series alternated between both hemispheres in between.

The lessons of the autumn’s World Cup should not be lost. International sport is THE key to opening up to new people, regions and potential sponsors who would not normally give league a second look. It would be criminal not to build on that.