Freddie Burns

Can he kick it? Gloucester and England fly-half Freddie Burns puts in a kick against Leicester last season

By Sarah Mockford

FREDDIE BURNS starts on a bum note. He’s been asked about the funniest thing he’s seen on the pitch and he’s quick with his response, recalling a moment during England’s semi-final defeat by Australia at the 2010 Junior World Cup involving his Gloucester team-mate Jonny May.

“Jonny got the ball 22 metres out and one of the Australian boys grabbed his shorts,” explains the England fly-half, 23. “Fair play, Jonny had his bare bum showing and dragged the guy 22 metres to dot the ball down for a try. If that wasn’t funny enough, Christian Wade didn’t realise his shorts had been pulled down and gave him a slap on his bare arse. That made me laugh – I was dying on the pitch.”

So that you can share in the fun, we’ve dug out the YouTube footage of that try for you to enjoy…

Burns also explains why Gloucester new boys like Matt Kvesic have been sporting shaved heads recently. It’s a rite of passage at Kingsholm that new signings have to shave their hair off during pre-season. There was an age limit introduced a couple of years ago – only those under 25 had to use the clippers – but when 31-year-old James Hudson, who has joined from Newcastle, decided to go for a close crop it seems that rule was dispensed with.

Matt Kvesic

New look: Matt Kvesic sporting his new haircut

“It’s an initiation – I had my head shaved in 2008 and it was horrendous,” explains Burns. “When Huddo did his this summer it put peer pressure on everyone else, like Jonny Bentley. Some guys weren’t too happy about it. It’s nice to know that I’ve already had mine done and put pressure on others!”

Burns’s old flatmate Dave Lewis will have been undergoing his own initiations having swapped Kingsholm for Sandy Park. His departure has seen Burns move into a new flat on his own in Cheltenham.

“Dave looked after me for two years – he mothered me!” jokes Burns. “When he signed for Exeter I thought I’d get my own place; I’m 23 now and quite enjoy my own space. I’m contemplating getting a dog but I probably need to look after myself first. Maybe I’ll start with fish – tropical fish, not goldfish. I’d want them to be colourful and nice to look at.”

For more funny stories from Freddie Burns, see the 30 Minutes feature in the October issue of Rugby World – on sale Tuesday 3 September.