Bath have confirmed Freddie Burns’ departure from the club at the end of June after the out-of-favour out-half took to social media earlier on Friday to reveal he was heading to Japan next season. The ex-England international has had a frustrating time under Stuart Hooper, who took over last summer as director of rugby following the exit of Todd Blackadder.
While Burns was a starter in five of Bath’s half-dozen Heineken Champions Cup pool matches, he slipped down the pecking order when it came to Gallagher Premiership duty, starting just twice in ten appearances due to Hooper’s preference for Rhys Priestland.
Burns joined Bath in 2017 under Blackadder, making 66 appearances in total before deciding his future will be best served by heading overseas to join the Toyota Shokki Shuttles.
In a brief statement, Bath boss Hooper said: “It’s always great to see a departing player move on with such exciting opportunities and a contract secured for the next stage of their career. We wish Freddie all the best at his new club and thank him for his contribution to ours.”
Burns added: “I’d like to thank the Bath supporters for the love they’ve shown me over my three years with the club. As a Bath boy I’ll always be a Bath fan and I wish everyone all the best moving forward.”
He had recently told The Rugby Pod about his frustrations at Bath this term. “I have been the first to admit I have been extremely frustrated with the lack of game time,” he said. “I have felt this year I have been devalued as a player quite a lot in terms of not even getting an opportunity when the team was losing or playing badly.”
Burns came through the Bath academy before embarking on a career that took him to Gloucester and Leicester before he agreed to what he hoped would be a dream return to his native city club. “To put it bluntly, what should have been the dream move is turning into, not a complete nightmare, but something which is very far from what I was expecting it to be,” he added in his Pod interview.
“Some of that I will take full credit for; I got sent off on my debut, I don’t put the ball down against Toulouse – that was completely self-inflicted. But there are other aspects which have been that have left me pretty disappointed and very frustrated with my time at Bath. The boys have been great, coaches in part have been alright, but this year I feel not even hung out to dry, just forgotten about.”
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