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Burns signs for Leicester

Leicester have announced the signing of Freddie Burns from Gloucester among six new arrivals for next season.

Burns replaces departing club captain Toby Flood, who is joining Toulouse, and will compete with Owen Williams for the fly-half duties at Welford Road.

News of the 24-year-old's decision to join Leicester emerged as early as Christmas and coincided with a collapse in form that has seen him plummet from being England's second to fourth/fifth choice fly-half.

However, the shoulder injury that is expected to rule George Ford out of the summer tour to New Zealand means he is competing with Danny Cipriani and Billy Twelvetrees to start the first Test against the All Blacks on June 7.

"We look forward to the arrival of Freddie," Leicester director of rugby Richard Cockerill said.

"He's a young man with a couple of seasons of Premiership rugby already under his belt as well as playing for England. He can continue his development here."

Leicester, who were beaten by East Midlands rivals Northampton in Friday's Aviva Premiership semi-final at Franklin's Gardens, have added five further players to their squad.

Castres centre Seremaia Bai, Rotherham number eight Laurence Pearce, Benetton centre Christian Loamanu and forwards Robert Barbieri and Leonardo Ghiraldini have also agreed terms.

"We've done a lot of work to assemble a strong squad again for next season," Cockerill said.

"We're bringing in more Test experience and strength in depth with the two Italian forwards, while Christian Loamanu is a physical player who can play in a number of positions.

"Seremaia Bai brings a lot of experience and Laurence Pearce is an ambitious young back-rower who we feel can benefit from our environment and working with a group of quality forwards here."

Leicester have also agreed new contracts with Ed Slater, Louis Deacon, Anthony Allen, David Mele, Blaine Scully, Adam Thompstone and Gonzalo Camacho.

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