'Score first, then celebrate': Bath skipper warns team against showboating

Freddie Burns (Twitter)
Freddie Burns (Twitter)

Bath - Bath captain Rhys Priestland told teammates celebrating before touching down was "not negotiable," after Freddie Burns' showboating cost the club a European Cup victory on Sunday.

WATCH: Never showboat on the rugby field

Bath lost 22-20 to Toulouse at home on Saturday after Burns burst through with three minutes left but slowed to celebrate before attempting to touch down one-handed allowing Maxime Medard to knock the ball away.

Something similar happened in a domestic match last month as Tom Homer dropped the ball crossing the line and Bath lost a derby to Bristol by seven points.

"It is probably something we need to speak about as a squad -- celebrating before we score tries," said Priestland.

"As a squad, 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. We can't do that again this season."

Burns had also missed a 74th-minute penalty from in front of the posts and he was eventually replaced.

"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."

Medard said that on Friday he had coffee with Burns, who left the pitch in tears, as he is friends with the Frenchman's Toulouse colleague Maxime Mermoz.

Reflecting on the non-try incident, Medard said: "I was surprised. He had a lot of time to score, but he hesitated.

"I targeted his arm because he only had the ball in one hand. You watch sevens, when the players are really cool, and it happens."

Bath rugby director Todd Blackadder said Burns would learn from his gaffe.

"Freddie will be hurting, there is no doubt about that. I don't need to state the obvious," he said.

"Now is the time to probably rally behind him and support him. Freddie made an error, but that is very often where the greatest learning comes from."

Priestland also offered Burns some support.

"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."

"I think it is an easy cop-out for us if we look at that and say that has cost us the game."

"We have got far bigger issues than him dropping the ball over the line or missing that kick. We should have been good enough to not have to rely on one try or a kick here and there."

"Freddie is a big character, and he is going to bounce back. I hope he comes into training next week with the swagger he always brings."

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