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Burns regrets exit talk

Freddie Burns wishes he had handled the fuss over his impending Gloucester departure differently.

The England fly-half is expected to join Leicester Tigers in the summer.

Last week Gloucester confirmed Burns will leave Kingsholm at the end of the season, but the 23-year-old has not confirmed his destination and Leicester have made no comment.

Burns admitted before Christmas that he was wrestling with the decision on his future, on whether to re-sign with Gloucester or move elsewhere.

That sparked a host of reports linking Burns with Leicester, which the Bath-born playmaker now regrets.

Admitting he would have handled things differently in hindsight, Burns said: "Yes I do. I've learnt masses about myself over the last couple of months, it's been probably the toughest time of my career in terms of not playing well.

"Obviously I had a decision to make, I do wish I'd handled it slightly differently, in terms of not saying anything and focusing on Gloucester.

"But I'll live and learn, and move on, and I'm excited about being here and the opportunity I've got here, and finishing the season on a high with Gloucester.

"I've learned a lot about myself, I wish I'd handled it slightly differently, but it's happened now and I'll be a better person and a better player because of it."

Gloucester wing Charlie Sharples is understood to have replaced injured Wasps flyer Tom Varndell in the Saxons squad, who has suffered a recurrence of his biceps problem.

Another Gloucester star, scrum-half Dan Robson, has also joined the squad, as cover for fellow half-backs Joe Simpson and Dave Lewis.

Bath's Fijian flyer Semesa Rokoduguni is also a doubt as the Saxons monitor his swollen knee.

England head coach Stuart Lancaster has retained Burns in his RBS 6 Nations squad but has sent him to the Saxons for Saturday's Ireland clash in a bid to play him into form.

Relieved to have his Gloucester departure confirmed, Burns said: "That has helped, I think it's a big weight off my shoulders.

"I see myself as a mentally strong guy who can deal with things off the park as on it, but it's definitely taken a slight effect.

"It's done now and I can move on though.

"I had a good performance with Gloucester on Sunday and I'm excited to be here with a great young squad and put in a performance at Kingsholm on Saturday."

Refusing to comment on his destination at the end of the season, Burns said: "It's been announced I'm leaving Gloucester in the summer.

"I've given a lot the club, and I just want to stay focused on them.

"There will be an announcement when there needs to be one.

"Right now I've got enough on my plate trying to get back into the Six Nations squad and putting in a performance here.

"I'm settled now and happy with where things are now."

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