Freddie Burns admits that he’s full of excitement ahead of tomorrow’s West Country derby against Gloucester Rugby at the Rec (kick-off 16:30).
Burns starts at fly-half against his former side and is looking to make an immediate impact, as he makes his first start of the Gallagher Premiership season.
“As a 10 in those derby games it’s important to have a cool head, keep nice and calm and manage the team around the park,” Burns says. “Hopefully in the attacking third, I can help bring the game to life a bit. It’s important that it’s not about me being at 10, it’s crucial I get the balance right and manage the game. It’s my first start in this season in the (Gallagher) Premiership, so it’s about doing the basics really well and growing into the game.”
The Blue, Black and White go into the game off the back of a defeat to Bristol Bears last week, but Burns believes that there’s no better way to get back on the horse than facing their fellow derby rivals.
“It acts as motivation (playing Gloucester),” Burns admits. “We need to get back to winning ways and no better way to do it than a West Country Derby against Gloucester at the Rec. I think last year our home form let us down so it’s important that we focus on the performance and get that right.
“I had a lot of appearances for Gloucester growing up, it’s nice to be on the Bath side of the derby. Being a local boy growing up, these are the games that I used to watch and love. It means a lot to me, my family and the city, and it’s about going out there and representing Bath.”
Burns’ opposite number Danny Cipriani showed his quality in Gloucester’s win over Northampton last weekend, and he knows that Bath will have to stick to their game plan in order to stop the England international from pulling the strings.
“When you play a player of Cipriani’s calibre and skillset, you need to do it as a team. You can’t solve things on your own. The minute you create a dogleg or open up channel for him to attack, he is world-class at exploiting it, so we’ve got to stay together, stay in structure and nullify it that way rather than in ones and twos.”
“It’ll be tough, they have got a quality team with lots of quality players, and he’s just one of them and I am sure he will be hungry to dot down.”
There will be no split loyalties for the Burns family this weekend, with younger brother Billy having departed Gloucester for Ulster during the off-season. The Bath fly-half also admits it’s a weight off his shoulders with the sibling rivalry now firmly away from the derby.
“It works out very well - my family can support Bath fully now and no longer sit on the fence. It also takes that pressure off me, questions about facing my little brother and I can maintain my winning record against him,” he jests.
“My family are all die hard Bath supporters and it’s a great occasion for everyone, just excited to be playing at 10 at the weekend and hopefully be part of a great performance and result.
“It seems like it’s been ages since we have played at the Rec, so a full house, lots of travelling support and hopefully we can go out a put on a performance that gets the crowd on their feet.”
Tickets are still available for tomorrow's game by clicking here