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October 23, 2018
Freddie Burns: Bath full-back makes two calamitous errors as Toulouse hold on
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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 Pens: Ramos

Two big errors by Freddie Burns in the final six minutes cost Bath a potential opening Champions Cup win over Toulouse at a stunned Rec.

With the score 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 over, 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.

‘Freddie is pretty resilient’

Bath’s director of rugby Todd Blackadder told BBC Radio 5 live he replaced Burns 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. We did it against Bristol [Tom Homer] and it’s just disappointing here in the Champions Cup. But it’s a genuine, honest mistake.”

Asked how Burns will 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 where 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 hit back through Wales’ Jamie Roberts. The inside centre, back from four weeks out with a fractured cheekbone, 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 Toulouse then 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 pay 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 upright.

Moments after the restart, Burns burst through 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.

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