Burns to miss Euro­pean clashes after three-week ban for tip tackle

‘I couldn’t hold my son for long pe­ri­ods. I was so tired and would fa­tigue quickly’

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Rugby Union -

Bath fly-half Fred­die Burns has been given a three-week sus­pen­sion fol­low­ing his red card on Satur­day for a dan­ger­ous tackle on Worces­ter’s Josh Adams. It will rule him out of the open­ing two rounds of Bath’s Euro­pean Cham­pi­ons Cup cam­paign

The 27-year-old was sent off on what was his first Bath start after upend­ing Adams with a tip-tackle in the 63rd minute of the Aviva Pre­mier­ship con­test at the Recre­ation Ground, which the hosts won 29-13.

Burns ap­peared be­fore a Rugby Foot­ball Union dis­ci­plinary panel yes­ter­day evening. In a sub­se­quent state­ment from the RFU, the panel’s chair­man Gareth Gra­ham said: “The panel heard ev­i­dence from the

Cup for Ul­ster against Wasps in the tour­na­ment opener in Belfast on Friday night. “I prob­a­bly didn’t ex­pect the enor­mity of their sup­port. Ev­ery­one has reached out and en­cour­aged me and sort of called me an in­spi­ra­tion, which I find hard to ac­cept. That part is re­ally hum­bling and makes me be grate­ful and en­joy it a lot more.

“I have prob­a­bly found it a bit hard to know that there are peo­ple out there who are go­ing through sim­i­lar things and fam­i­lies that don’t have the same out­comes. [But] where I can in­spire them to have hope and give them strength is some­thing I am pretty proud of.”

It is im­pos­si­ble not to draw in­spi­ra­tion from Leali’ifano’s story, a re­mark­able jour­ney of re­silience that cul­mi­nated with his de­ci­sion to join Ul­ster on a short-term con­tract in Au­gust, which gave him the chance to rebuild his life in a new en­vi­ron­ment and cul­ture be­fore he re­turns to the Brumbies in Fe­bru­ary. He lost two stone in player as to the tackle and con­cluded that this was a reck­less tackle that had, by the player’s own ad­mis­sion, ‘gone wrong’ as op­posed to an in­ten­tional act of foul play.

“Given that there was no in­jury to the Worces­ter player, the panel found it was a low-end en­try point.

“The player ac­cepted the charge in full, apol­o­gised im­me­di­ately on­field and to the Worces­ter player post-match and has a clear dis­ci­plinary record. There­fore the panel gave full mit­i­ga­tion re­duc­ing the sanc­tion to three weeks”.

Burns will be avail­able to play again from Oct 31. Apart from miss­ing the Euro­pean matches, he will also sit out the clash with former club Glouces­ter on Oct 29.

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