| 14.1°C Dublin

'I said to him, you've got to go for it and he did' - Sexton and Henderson rally around Burns after his horror error

Close

Ireland's Billy Burns (right) looks dejected after his penalty kick fails to make touch on the last kick of the game after the Guinness Six Nations defeat to Wales. Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images

Ireland's Billy Burns (right) looks dejected after his penalty kick fails to make touch on the last kick of the game after the Guinness Six Nations defeat to Wales. Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images

Ireland's Billy Burns (right) looks dejected after his penalty kick fails to make touch on the last kick of the game after the Guinness Six Nations defeat to Wales. Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images

Iain Henderson believes his Ulster team-mate Billy Burns will come back stronger after his last gasp error in Cardiff.

The 26-year-old out-half kicked a penalty dead deep into injury time, handing Wales a five-point victory in the Six Nations opener.

Burns, who was winning his fifth Ireland cap at the Principality Stadium, cut a devastated figure at full-time and his club captain said was one of those who consoled him in the aftermath.

"Everyone is different. Everyone processes the loss on how your game went. Some guys take a while to come around, some guys are ready for a crack immediately," Henderson said.

"Billy is upset. Billy puts a huge amount on his own shoulders a lot of the time and he has definitely – almost always – carried Ulster in the past. And he will do for Ireland in the future as well.

"Obviously, he realises, with that kick to the corner there, he is trying to get every single last inch out of that ball. He slightly overcooked it.

"I thought he was excellent when he came on. I think, when he goes back and looks at it again, he will take a lot from the impact he made.”

Ireland skipper Johnny Sexton, whose head injury led to Burns' introduction during a brutally physical match, echoed the second-row's comments.

"I said to him, you've got to go for it and he did. I went for one as well," the Leinster star said.

"When you're chasing a game, you're eight points down, or as Billy was five points down, you've got to put it five metres out.

Sport Newsletter

Get the best analysis and comment from our award-winning team of writers and columnists with our free newsletter.

This field is required

"That's when you score tries. If you put it 10m out, even a good maul rarely gets over.

"Other days you're the hero when you stick it on the 5m (line). It's the life of the No 10.

"It comes down to small margins. I thought he did very well in the other parts of the game. That's one moment but there's plenty through that second half where we could have done better but it's tough with 14 men.

"As a ten, you have moments when you're a hero and you have moments when you're a villain.

"You put yourself in those moments, that's the responsibility that you have. If you kick the ball to the '22', that's worse for me than trying to stick it five metres out and it not coming off. He'll learn and he'll go again."

Ireland were forced to play with 14 men for 67 minutes after Peter O'Mahony's red card and Henderson, who was one of five survivors from the 2016 win over South Africa with 14 men, praised the team's character for the way they stayed in the match.

"You got to realise you cannot be having any wastage in the rucks. You cannot be having those extra dips that you might have. You got to be quite smart," he said.

"I think Wales did a cracking job at keeping us out. I felt we attacked very well and credit to them they did well to hold us out until the end of the game.

"But I also thought our guys did a very good job to have us pushing to go in right to the final whistle.

"It is frustrating but it would be even more frustrating if we were down by 20 points.

"You got to go back and look at what we have done well. The first weekend of rugby in the Six Nations has shown us three very different but very exciting games of rugby.

"Next weekend will give a huge pointer of what direction the tournament is going to go and how teams are shaping up against each other.

"If someone asked me before the game if someone got a card early on I would have expected everyone to dig in the way they did. That’s the type of group that we are, that is the type of friends we have become. That shows in our training.

"Johnny just spoke about how frustrating it is to show glimpses of what we are going to become. Now we got to start playing like the team we can become.

"I was excited to see us get a full rattle at a game today. Frustrating not to have 15 players so I look forward to when we do get that chance.”


Most Watched





Privacy