Gloucester Rugby: Cramp must not derail my future - Freddie Burns
FREDDIE Burns is determined to end his calf trouble once and for all – so that he can go the Premiership distance.
The Gloucester fly-half suffered cramp in both legs that almost caused him to fluff a penalty kick to touch in Saturday's 24-19 Northampton defeat.
The 22-year-old's calves froze in the act of kicking the ball, leaving him almost unable to make contact and find touch.
Burns landed awkwardly on the Kingsholm turf, raising fears of a recurrence of his pre-season knee injury.
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Relieved to have only suffered cramp, Burns said the issue is related to an operation he underwent two-and-a-half years ago.
Burns went under the knife to solve regular cramping in his calves, that was forcing him out of matches around the hour mark.
The surgery all-but cleared the problem – but now Burns is hopeful more scrutiny can help him stay fresh for even the most gruelling Premiership contests.
He explained: "As I went to kick the ball my legs seized up, so in the split-second the ball dropped, I was working out whether I could even make contact with the ball, what would happen if I didn't, and whether I should just try to get any kind of foot on it at all.
"I was able to find touch which was fortunate, and it's frustrating when something like that happens, because there's no warning.
"Everyone knows my issues with my calves, I had that operation two and a half years ago to combat that.
"And that cramp just happened towards the end of the game.
"Five points in the game at that stage, I was gutted, for want of a better word, to come off in that situation.
"It's something I want to get sorted, and I'll work it all out with the physios.
"I can't go through another year wondering whether I will last 80 minutes or not.
"It's hindering me ever so slightly, and it definitely frustrates me.
"I want to be there until the end if that's what the coaches want, and I certainly don't want to be upsetting the balance of the team because of something that can hopefully be avoided.
"Hopefully we can get something sorted and move on pretty quickly.
"My calves are definitely better, the operation definitely worked.
"Because before the cramp was coming around 55minutes, and obviously on Saturday it was in the 79th minute.
"But I still want it to push that further."
Gloucester travel to the Madejski Stadium on Saturday (kick-off 3pm) to take on London Irish, returning to the scene of last term's nadir, the season-ending 52-18 defeat.
All the change since means this weekend is no kind of revenge mission, asserted Burns.
Lamenting the Northampton defeat, he continued: "We played into the Saints hands in the first half, not helped by a strong wind into the corner, but then we had chances to win the game after the break.
"We had chances to win the game and we left them out there, and that's disappointing.
"And we conceded three soft tries too, which isn't good enough.
"You can't afford to play catch-up rugby in a league like this, and we've got to get that drummed into us pretty quickly.
"I'm still very optimistic about what's to come though.
"At least we're creating opportunities, and now it's just a case of taking those.
"We've got to believe in ourselves, go down there and get a result.
"This is a completely different set of players and a totally different set-up from last season.
"People will obviously make comparisons to the end of last term, but this is something entirely fresh and we don't feel the pressure of last year."