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‘Doing a Freddie’ is the sure way to make yourself a pantomime villain | Robert Kitson


Freddie Burns’s showboating blunder that cost Bath the match is a reminder to players to stop behaving like 12-year-olds

At least Freddie Burns is in good company. Virtually every sport, at some stage, has produced a fall guy whose ill-advised showboating has gone viral and reminded us all of the value of humility. For Burns read Leon Lett of the Dallas Cowboys, guilty of a similar error in the 1993 Super Bowl, or the great American jockey Bill Shoemaker, who stood up in his stirrups to celebrate victory on Gallant Man in the 1957 Kentucky Derby only to be misjudge the finishing line and finish second.

The word “showboat” came from the United States where gaudy river steamers used to act as floating theatres, going up and down the Mississippi and Ohio rivers. Beside the River Avon on Saturday, however, none of Burns’s employers were remotely amused having seen a potentially crucial home pool victory against Toulouse in the Heineken Champions Cup squandered by one of rugby’s most painful and public misjudgments.

Related: Freddie Burns’ costly clanger was unforgivable, says Jeremy Guscott

Five minutes to go…
Chance to win the game…
"Oh he's dropped it!"
A brutal moment for Bath star Freddie Burns

Related: Billy Vunipola ruled out for three months with broken arm

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