Nigel Davies has leapt to the defence of out-of-form and under-fire Freddie Burns.
The Gloucester fly-half received fierce criticism from BT Sport pundit Austin Healey during the Cherry and Whites’ disastrous defeat to Northampton Saints.
Burns made no clean breaks and even more alarmingly zero metres in a disappointing defeat at Franklin’s Gardens, in which he was playing behind a beaten pack.
The 23-year-old, who is set for a summer move to Leicester Tigers, has since received widespread abuse on social networks with supporters questioning his effort and commitment to the Cherry and White jersey.
But while Davies admits the performance left a lot to be desired, he insists the abuse is unfair and urged supporters to lay off the struggling star.
He said: “It wasn’t a good performance from Freddie. He knows it is not good enough but he’s working hard to put that right. Unfortunately with the circumstances around him assumptions are being made which are wrong. He is committed to the cause.
“He knows his form is not where it should be but we have to get the best from him. From being in the environment I can say he is always very positive, is working very hard to be the best he can and we are working with him to resolve these issues.
“He is with us for the rest of the season and is committed to us, as we are to him, and wants to do the best he can.”
The former Wales centre and coach has witnessed similar falls from grace during his time across the border.
He played alongside an out-of-sorts Neil Jenkins and coached Stephen Jones during difficult times but he insists both players came back stronger, citing the age old adage ‘form is temporary, class is permanent’, and he is confident Burns will do the same.
Davies said: “I’ve been in Wales and experienced the same with great fly-halves like Neil Jenkins and Stephen Jones and this is in a country where that number 10 jersey is revered and held in such high regard.
“Their form dropped and they received huge amounts of criticism but it goes with the territory and they came back stronger, and I’ve told Freddie that as well.
“Ten is such a crucial position and Freddie showed some form until last season when he really took off and showcased his talents. He put himself in the limelight but has taken a step back this season.
“But form is temporary and he will find his way back. This experience will make him a better player and stronger person.”