Burns says sorry af­ter er­ror proves costly to Bath

The Sunday Telegraph - Sport - - Front Page - By Gavin Mairs RUGBY NEWS COR­RE­SPON­DENT

Bath’s Fred­die Burns apol­o­gised to his team-mates and sup­port­ers last night af­ter an ex­tra­or­di­nary er­ror when he cost his side vic­tory in the Cham­pi­ons Cup match against Toulouse when, af­ter cross­ing the line and cel­e­brat­ing the match-win­ning try he was about to score, he had the ball knocked from his hand.

With his side trail­ing by two points, the full-back looked to have won the match in dra­matic fash­ion af­ter break­ing through the Toulouse de­fence in the 78th minute, mo­ments af­ter he had missed a penalty from in front of the posts. As he ran be­hind the posts, he slowed, held the ball in one hand and blew a kiss, which al­lowed France wing Maxime Medard – who later paid trib­ute to Burns as “a great guy” – to pounce and dis­lodge the ball.

Burns, who was im­me­di­ately sub­sti­tuted, tweeted: “Love this sport for the highs and the lows. To­day was an ul­ti­mate low and a mis­take I’ll learn from. I’ll con­tinue to give my best as I al­ways do. Lastly just apolo­gies to the boys and the sup­port­ers for the mis­take. I’ll bounce back … thanks for the sup­port.”

Bath cap­tain Rhys Pri­est­land re­fused to blame Burns for the 22-20 de­feat at the Rec, but said that he would call for an end to pre­ma­ture cel­e­bra­tions.

“I just can’t be­lieve we do cel­e­brate be­fore we put the ball down. I hon­estly don’t know what boys think they are go­ing to gain by do­ing it. We can’t do that again this sea­son. Fred­die has put his hand up. There are big­ger is­sues in that game than the one dropped ball over the line.”

Bath’s de­feat was the start of an­other im­mensely dis­ap­point­ing day for the Gal­lagher Premier­ship clubs in Europe’s top com­pe­ti­tion. Af­ter Wasps were thrashed at Le­in­ster on Fri­day night there was an­other big vic­tory for an Ir­ish prov­ince over an English gi­ant, with Ul­ster beat­ing Le­ices­ter 24-10. Ex­eter did avoid de­feat, draw­ing 10-10 with Mun­ster.

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