Burns’ big blunder sinks Bath
Bath fullback Freddie Burns has apologised on Twitter following his monumental mistake which cost his team victory in their home Champions Cup match against Toulouse.
The 28-year-old former England international was left wishing the Recreation Ground could swallow him up following his side’s 22-20 defeat yesterday, after two big errors late in the piece.
Trailing by two in their opening European game of the season, Bath had a penalty in front of the posts with seven minutes remaining, which Burns duly smacked into an upright.
But if that wasn’t bad enough, much worse was to come, when two minutes later he looked to have made up for his error by gliding over the tryline, only for his pre-touchdown celebrating to bite him in the backside when the hand of Toulouse winger Maxime Medard knocked the ball from his grasp as he went to ground it onehanded.
With a stunned home crowd not knowing what hit them, Toulouse, who had former All Black Jerome Kaino sinbinned just before halftime for an illegal tackle, duly went on to record the victory.
Bath’s director of rugby – Kiwi Todd Blackadder – replaced Burns shortly after his botched try, and later said his playmaker was ‘‘a little bit’’ mentally shot.
‘‘It’s just an honest mistake, and he will never do it again,’’ Blackadder said. ‘‘It’s about what you do next. But Freddie is pretty tough and pretty resilient.’’
Captain Rhys Priestland tried to spread the blame post-game, but blasted his team-mates for even thinking they could celebrate tries early.
‘‘We’ve got far bigger issues than Freddie dropping the ball or missing that kick,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s something for us to talk about, celebrating before scoring tries. Freddie hasn’t cost us the game. We weren’t good enough.
‘‘But, as a squad, I can’t believe we do celebrate before we put the ball down. It’s not the first time. I honestly don’t know what boys think they’re going to achieve by doing it. For me, that’s non-negotiable. We can’t do it again.’’
A couple of hours after the game, Burns – who played five tests between 2012 and 2014 – took to Twitter to express an apology.
Meanwhile, there were mixed fortunes for the other Kiwi coaches in the day’s four other matches.
Vern Cotter’s Montpellier went scoreless in the second half but held on at home to beat Edinburgh 21-15, where former Auckland and Blues first five-eighth Simon Hickey was kicking goals for the visitors.
Wayne Pivac’s Scarlets had former Crusaders winger Johnny Mcnicholl score one of the team’s two tries, but the hosts were pipped 14-13 by Racing 92 thanks to a late penalty try.
The other games saw Ulster win 24-10 at home to Leicester, while Munster drew 10-10 away to Exeter.