I think my mum may combust if I play in the same team as Freddie - says Gloucester's Billy Burns
THE BURNS clan have taken Gloucester into their hearts: just don't get matriarch Donna started on Freddie and Billy sharing the Kingsholm field.
Bath-born and bred, in another dimension maybe Freddie and Billy are the kings of The Recreation Ground.
After all, England fly-half Freddie used to serve chips at Bath's gloriously down-at-heel home, trying to sneak into Premiership matches for free.
When the Burns brothers started to turn from young teens into rugby tyros though, it was Gloucester who did all the courting.
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Now Burns the elder is Gloucester's starting pivot, and is primed to cement a long-term England future too.
For 19-year-old Billy, the ambition to grace the same Gloucester line-up as his 23-year-old brother burns bright.
The new England Under-20s squad member tries not to dwell on how dad Jerry, mum Donna or brothers Jack and Sam would react.
"If I'm honest I'm not sure how the family would handle it if that day came," he admitted. "I think our mum might combust!
"It would be a massively proud moment for the family.
"Gloucester's in our family's hearts now, and it's something we're all very passionate about.
"It's a club that we really care about, and for me and Fred to represent them together, let alone just one of us, would be a massive achievement.
"And so it's a real goal to strive towards.
"The club has treated us both extremely well.
"Fred's really come through brilliantly.
"I can only really talk for myself of course, but the fans have been fantastic, the same with the coaching staff and the players.
"And it's been a really easy club to come into, slot into straight away and start making progress, and that's because effectively it's a real family environment.
"It's a definite dream of mine, I've always said it, it would be massive for me and Fred to play together.
"Whether at full-back or wherever, I wouldn't mind, it would just be great to play in the same Gloucester side.
"I think 10 is where I am most at home, and feel I can play my best rugby.
"Hopefully I can push myself on and establish myself as a fly-half at Gloucester."
With three competitive first-team appearances already under his belt, Billy Burns is now hunting more senior opportunities this term.
Targeting LV=Cup action and A League bows for second-string Gloucester United, he admitted picking senior brains in training is just as vital for progress.
He continued: "Jonny Bentley has come in and he's got a lot of experience.
"So I can definitely learn a lot from him; and that's in addition to Billy Twelvetrees, my brother, Tim Taylor and Ryan Mills.
"Then with Olly Morgan there as well, I can learn the full-back role at the same time.
"So it's just giving me that extra bit I can take with me.
"I've got to pick all their brains as much as I can and try to follow in their footsteps.
"You see the likes of Fred, Jonny, Henry Trinder, Charlie – the list is pretty much endless of guys coming through the academy and cementing themselves as regulars in the first team.
"And a lot of those players move onto full international honours as well.
"It just shows that there are avenues open to us younger guys in the academy.
"What we've got to do is just keep working hard – not think about where we might end up – but keep working away and try to grab any opportunity that comes your way."