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Burns moves past tough times

Freddie Burns agonised for almost two months over his "career-defining decision" to leave Gloucester to bolster his Rugby World Cup 2015 dream.

The Cherry and Whites fly-half revealed he shut himself away from family and team-mates for two weeks as he wrestled with whether to re-sign at Kingsholm or leave in the summer.

Burns admitted his form slumped dramatically during that indecision, but is confident he has come through the trough.

England head coach Stuart Lancaster has dropped the 23-year-old to the second-string Saxons for Saturday's Ireland Wolfhounds clash at Kingsholm, challenging Burns to play his way back into the RBS 6 Nations squad.

Bath-born Burns is expected to join Leicester in the summer.

Gloucester confirmed his end-of-season departure last week, but Leicester are yet to comment.

When Burns admitted before Christmas he was torn on whether to stay at Gloucester, that sparked a host of reports linking him to a Leicester move.

Regretting that pre-Christmas fallout, Burns said: "I believe the decision that I make will define my career one way or another, especially with the World Cup next year as well, that's something I had to take into consideration.

"The decision was massively tough but I'm just glad it's all done and parked up now.

"People know that I'm leaving Gloucester at the end of the year and I can just focus on my rugby.

"You want to be winning silverware, I want to be in that England squad.

"I've had to do what's right for me and my career and where I think I can become the best player I can be.

"It was a tough decision and one I still um and ah about now really, but it's done and I can move on.

"I spent easily six weeks if not longer on this decision, it's one of those things I tried pushing off, to get back to playing rugby.

"I wanted to wake up one morning and the decision to be made and the penny to have dropped.

"I'd wake up one morning thinking the right decision was to leave, but then I'd wake up the next saying I want to stay.

"Sometimes it's a case of what you want to do against what you have to do.

"That's what it boiled down to, and that's why I made my decision to leave.

"I had a lot of advice from a lot of people, both from inside the set-up and outside.

"It actually got to the point where I probably spoke to too many people, one tells you one thing and another tells you another.

"I shut myself away in my flat, I hardly spoke to anyone.

"I would go to training, come straight home, my parents would call and I would brush them off, literally I spent two weeks just on my own, trying to hammer out a decision.

"I'm happy with the decision now, and it's time to get focused and move on."

Excited to turn out in England colours at his club ground, Burns is targeting a quick return to Lancaster's Six Nations squad.

"It's a great opportunity for me and a lot of the younger guys," he said.

"You look around the squad and the talented backs and forwards, and you can't help but get excited about playing at Kingsholm in front of a good crowd."

Burns' form hit rock bottom in Gloucester's 22-17 home defeat to Leicester on November 29.

The livewire playmaker was caught on dressing room TV cameras disconsolate and all-but in tears after that dispiriting loss.

The Bath academy graduate admitted he let doubts over his future wreck the first half of his season.

"Gloucester's a club that's given me everything, but sometimes you've got to make a decision on a career basis and that's it," he added.

"As a team we weren't going too well at the beginning of the year, and because there's speculation on your future you almost have to try too hard to prove the point that you're still committed.

"In the last couple of weeks I've tried to step back, take my foot off the gas a little and bring the bits I can as and when rather than trying to do it all the time because you're worrying about what others are thinking about your commitment.

"Hopefully the weight off my shoulders will help my performance.

"You end up thinking what someone else would do rather than do what you're known for and are good at."


From Belfast Telegraph