Billy Burns using 'devastating' missed kick against Wales as 'driving force'

Billy Burns
Burns kicked the ball dead as Ireland fell to a 21-16 defeat by Wales in their Six Nations opener on 7 February

Billy Burns has resolved to use his missed kick to touch against Wales as motivation after describing the moment as "the worst I have ever felt in my life."

The Ulster fly-half kicked the ball dead in the final act of Ireland's Six Nations opener in Cardiff as his side chased a dramatic and potentially match-winning score, having played most of the game with 14 men.

"I'll be honest it was tough, the first couple of weeks after that mistake I really struggled," Burns admitted.

"As soon as that moment happened, it was the worst I'd ever felt in my life - the world had just fallen apart and everything just caved in on me. I got into the changing room afterwards and you can see the disappointment in other people and you know you've had a massive part (in it).

"If that kick goes into the corner, we're potentially driving over and I'm potentially kicking the winning kick to win in Cardiff, and it's probably one of the best Ireland results in a long time considering we're down to 14 men.

"All I want, if I could pay right now I'd be back in that moment in exactly the same situation and I'd have that kick again, I'd go for it again."

'It was me, a rugby ball, and I missed the line'

Since returning to Ulster Burns has rediscovered some of his best form, and was instrumental in the province's narrow Challenge Cup quarter-final win over Northampton.

The 26-year-old is one of a number of fly-halves currently competing to establish himself as Ireland's second choice 10 behind captain Johnny Sexton.

With a summer tour to the Pacific Islands pencilled in, and with Sexton potentially in South Africa with the British and Irish Lions, Burns has sought to move past the Wales kick.

"It's one of those, I made a decision. I could either let it burn and kill me and go into my shell, or I could use it as a real driving force," he said.

"I think that's the beauty of the mistake: it was me. It was me, a rugby ball, and I missed the line. Nobody else's fault; perfect night, great conditions. Nobody else to blame, nothing else could have changed, it was all on me.

"For that one moment, something that I've done hundreds of thousands of times didn't go well for me.

Billy Burns
Burns' Ulster will meet Leicester Tigers next week in a Challenge Cup semi-final

"Obviously it's devastating when you work so hard to get to that level, and you get your big moment and you don't quite get it the way you've envisaged it."

Burns started for Ireland the next week against France, but came off early in the second half with an injury as the side slipped to a second straight defeat to start the championship.

Andy Farrell's side fought back to win their final three fixtures and secure third place in the table, but for Burns the late mistake in Cardiff on his Six Nations debut is the abiding memory of the tournament.

"I know I have had a lot of flack in the media, I know I'd love to say it doesn't bother me but I'd be lying. I obviously want people to look at me and think I'm a good player and that I deserve to be where I was," he said.

"I'm going to use that mistake to make me a better player. It's my mistake, I made the error, I know exactly what I did.

"I've found out the most about myself in the last four or five months than I've probably ever found out about myself in my whole rugby career."

Hear the full interview with Billy Burns at half-time of Ulster v Connacht on BBC Radio Foyle DAB and the BBC Sport Website on Friday evening.

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