Premiership: Leicester Tigers hero Freddie Burns is still in ‘disbelief’ after winning the title with late drop goal

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 Credit: PA Images
Credit: PA Images

Leicester Tigers hero Freddie Burns said he is in “disbelief” after dramatically kicking a drop goal to claim the Premiership title with a 15-12 win over Saracens.

Burns, who arrived from Japan last summer, had come on early for George Ford, who left the field injured and managed to nail the decisive kick with 22 seconds left on the clock.

They all count

The hero was grateful the kick went over after not making the best contact, joking that he had shinned it over the posts.

“It was one of those where I was ecstatic to get it over. I managed to shin it over, it was like a dead duck going over but I don’t care, it went through!” said Burns.

“It was gutting for George to come off so early. He’s been instrumental in how the team has gone this year.

“When I was running back celebrating, I looked up and saw there were still around 25 seconds on the clock.

“A few years ago I made a fool of myself celebrating too early (for Bath in 2018) and I didn’t want it to happen again so I tried to get the boys on it and luckily enough we cleared up that restart.

“I’m in disbelief right now. I’m normally not short of words, but I can’t believe what’s happened.

“Japan was the best thing that happened to me. It allowed me to fall back in love with the game and check my ego.

“To have this moment with a group of players, who I couldn’t love any more, is special. I’m a bit all over the shop. I keep having this out-of-body experience.”

Tigers have been the team to beat all season after finishing top of the table at the end of the regular season. Burns believes a key part of their success was fighting to win when in tricky situations.

“We’ve been a team of fighters all year, we’ve shown that in numerous games. We knew this was going to be hard. I don’t think people really gave us much of a shot,” he said.

“Everyone was talking about Sarries’ big-game players, but I wouldn’t have swapped any of our boys for theirs. We kept fighting and kept fighting and we came out at the right end.”

Tigers head coach Steve Borthwick has inspired a resurgence at the club, which was almost relegated in 2020, and he sees the team growing further.

“There’s a lot of growth in this team. The average age is 25 years old. The players are all really keen and want to get better,” Borthwick said.

Saracens coach Mark McCall showed his class and congratulated Tigers for their achievement without offering excuses.

“Congratulations to Leicester, they have had a phenomenal season and been top of the league all year. They were the better team and deserved to win the match,” McCall said.

“They trapped us in our half for long periods and backed that up with brilliant defensive work. We were a bit suffocated. We didn’t get anywhere near our best.

“Hopefully we can use the pain that we’re going to feel over the next few days in a constructive way to come back stronger next summer.”

READ MORE: Premiership: Five takeaways from the final as Leicester win an 11th league title

The article Premiership: Leicester Tigers hero Freddie Burns is still in ‘disbelief’ after winning the title with late drop goal appeared first on Planetrugby.com.

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