Bath out-half Freddie Burns has ended speculation on his future, revealing that he has signed for Shokki Shuttles in Japan. The ex-Beechen Cliff school pupil represented his country at both U20 and England Saxons level before making his senior England debut in 2012 against the All Blacks and taking part in the subsequent tours of Argentina and New Zealand.
It was no secret that ex-England No10 felt frustrated during his time at Bath, revealing to The Rugby Pod that he felt his value had fallen while at the club. “I have been the first to admit I have been extremely frustrated with the lack of game time,” he said earlier this year.
“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. With regards to next year, I have got something in the pipeline that is almost done and dusted. But as soon as this kicked off [the coronavirus lockdown] it suddenly put that into a bit of difficulty.
“Bath still haven’t spoken to me about whether they want to keep me or let me go. I guess from the lack of game time and the lack of communication the writing is on the wall for me. I have looked elsewhere, I have got something lined up. It’s still not signed but it is tough to have communication during these times because you are not seeing directors of rugby or coaches on a day-to-day basis.”
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. 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.
Feel immense pride to have played with, for and against the best players, clubs and supporters around. It’s been one hell of a journey. English rugby, for now, it’s been a pleasure. Next stop ?@shokki? https://t.co/YXFB4N6CWX
— Freddie Burns (@FreddieBurns) May 1, 2020
“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.
“I feel like an academy player again that I am having to earn respect from coaches and not even being given an opportunity to showcase what I can do, regardless of the fact I have been training well and when I have played, out of position, I have gone alright.”
There had been speculation earlier this year that Burns could join Wasps, speculation that then extended to a possible switch to France. However, he has now decided his future is best served by going further afield and joining the Shuttles, a second-tier team in Japan.
Burns has high hopes that 2019/20 would have been a successful season at Bath, telling RugbyPass last August: “This squad is on a journey. With Stuart (Hooper) now at the helm, it is going to be a continuation, it’s not completely fresh start so it is a journey we’re all excited to be on.
“When you look around the squad, and I know every Premiership squad will be saying this, but the players that we have got here, the young lads who will step up while the World Cup players are away, are more than capable, so it’s a really exciting time to be a Bath player.”
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