Freddie Burns: Bath full-back makes two calamitous errors as Toulouse hold on

Freddie Burns: Bath full-back makes two calamitous errors as Toulouse hold on
Bath director of rugby Todd Blackadder on Freddie Burns (centre): “It’s about what you do next. But Freddie is pretty tough and pretty resilient.”
Heineken Champions Cup
Bath (17) 20
Tries: Roberts, Burns Cons: Burns 2 Pens: Burns 2
Toulouse (12) 22
Tries: Medard, Guitoune 2 Cons: Ramos 2 Pen: Ramos

Freddie Burns said he experienced an “ultimate low” after his two big errors cost Bath a potential opening Champions Cup win over Toulouse.

With the visitors leading 22-20 in the 74th minute, the full-back missed a penalty right in front of the posts.

Moments later, Burns thought he had made amends when he crossed, but as he started celebrating the ball was poked out of his hand by Maxime Medard.

The 28-year-old was subsequently taken off, and Toulouse held on for victory.

He later 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.”

‘Freddie is pretty resilient’

Bath director of rugby Todd Blackadder told BBC Radio 5 live he replaced the full-back because he was “a little bit” mentally shot.

“It’s just an honest mistake, and he will never do it again,” he added. “A really disappointing way to finish the game.

“You just can’t [celebrate early] at any level. But it’s a genuine, honest mistake.”

Asked how Burns would pick himself up, Blackadder said: “It’s about what you do next. But Freddie is pretty tough and pretty resilient.”

The full-back was pictured with his head in his hands at the final whistle, following a game in which his try had helped put Bath in command after Toulouse’s brilliant start.

Freddie Burns (centre) scored a brilliant try but then his day went downhill

Toulouse take advantage of Ellis yellow

Four-time champions Toulouse took a 7-3 lead in the seventh minute when Medard trotted over in the corner after a great offload by lock Joe Tekori.

Bath replied through Wales inside centre Jamie Roberts, back from four weeks out with a fractured cheekbone, who bulldozed his way over – before Burns made it 17-7 with a superb spin and one-handed touchdown.

Roberts’ day ended prematurely just before the break when he was flattened by a huge hit from flanker Jerome Kaino, which was deemed illegal and resulted in 10 minutes in the sin-bin for the veteran former All Blacks player.

His injury came moments after Sofiane Guitoune reduced the deficit to 17-12 after a dazzling double sidestep by South Africa’s Cheslin Kolbe earlier in the play.

Burns, who missed a couple of kicks, extended Bath’s lead to 20-12, but the visitors hit back while Tom Ellis was sin-binned for a tip-tackle on lock Rynhardt Elstadt. A penalty and converted Guitoune try meant it was now advantage Toulouse.

Bath applied pressure once more and it appeared to have paid off with six minutes remaining when they won a penalty in front of the posts.

But Burns somehow fired the ball against the right-hand post.

Moments after the restart, Burns burst over the line and played to the crowd without realising Medard had tracked him. Before he had a chance to ground the ball, the Toulouse player poked the ball out of his hand.

‘He’s been made a fool of’ – analysis

Former Bath and England player Jeremy Guscott on BBC Radio 5 live

“I don’t feel sorry for him. Somewhere in my soul there is a minuscule bit of empathy for him. The kick in front of the posts was easy enough for a man of his talents, and getting the ball knocked out of the hand is unforgivable.

“As a fly-half [Burns played at full-back on Saturday] you should have sense of everything around you. Rather than thinking it’s done and dusted, he’s been made a little bit of a fool of.”

England player Natasha Hunt on BBC Radio 5 live

“I feel for Burns so much. Never carry the ball with one hand and never celebrate [before touching down].

“That sort of stuff is so difficult to come back from as a player.

“You know the highs and lows – emotionally he will be absolutely wiped as a player.”

Bath: Burns, Rokoduguni, Willison, Roberts, Atkins, Priestland (c), Cook, Catt, Dunn, Thomas, Attwood, Charteris, Ellis, Louw, Mercer.

Replacements: Walker, Van Rooyen, Perenise, Stooke, Underhill, Green, Wright, Homer.

Toulouse: Ramos, Kolbe, Guitoune, Mermoz, Medard, Holmes, Bezy, Pointud, Ghiraldini, Faumuina, Verhaeghe, Tekori, Cros (c), Elstadt, Kaino.

Replacements: Marchand, Castets, Van Dyk, Gayraud, Tolofua, Madaule

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