Freddie Burns has been absolutely slammed after one of the worst showboating fails in recent sporting history.
The Bath fullback has apologised after a showboating blunder cost his team a winning try as Toulouse claimed a 22-20 victory in the European Champions Cup on Sunday.
With just five minutes to play, Burns scythed through the defence and gave a cocky nod of the head and slap of his chest as he approached the tryline for what would likely have been the decisive score.
Trotting in towards the back of the posts, the 28-year-old five-time capped England back slowed as he went to ground the ball one-handed, only for the ever-lively Maxime Medard to pounce, tapping Burns’ forearm to cause the ball to spill and roll dead.
A tearful Burns collapsed to the ground, face buried in the pitch.
The bungled try attempt came shortly after Burns missed a penalty in front of the posts that would also have edged Bath back into the lead.
“Love this sport for the highs and the lows. Today was an ultimate low and a mistake I’ll learn from,” Burns tweeted.
“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.”
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 Burns (@FreddieBurns) October 13, 2018
Two minutes after the botched his try, Bath’s director of rugby Todd Blackadder took the fullback off, because he was “a little bit” mentally shot.
“It’s just an honest mistake, and he will never do it again,” Blackadder told BBC radio. “A really disappointing way to finish the game.”
“You just can’t (celebrate early) at any level. We did it against Bristol (when Tom Homer dropped the ball while crossing the line) 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.”
Bath captain Rhys Priestland expressed frustration.
“I just can’t believe we celebrate before we put the ball down. I honestly don’t know what boys think they are going to gain by doing it. For me that is not negotiable,” the Welshman said.
But he added: “Don’t get me wrong, I am not pointing the figure at Freddie. He hasn’t cost us the game, we weren’t good enough.”
Club legend slams ‘unforgivable’ blunder
Club legend Jeremy Guscott described the mistake as “unforgivable”.
“I don’t feel sorry for him,” Guscott told BBC.
“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.
“Rather than thinking it’s done and dusted, he’s been made a little bit of a fool of.”
Meanwhile, Bath centre Jackson Willison tipped Burns to bounce back.
“It’s important we get behind [Freddie], he’s always the bloke that’s training first and finishing last,” Willison said.
“I don’t think it’ll be an issue with the boys getting around him and encouraging him. He’ll come in on Monday as normal Freddie.