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Burns stars for Gloucester

Fly-half Freddie Burns did his reputation as one of the brightest rising stars in English rugby no harm with his 24-point haul for Gloucester in his side's 29-22 Amlin Challenge Cup victory over Aviva Premiership rivals London Irish.

Burns, who made his England debut during the recent autumn Test series at Twickenham, proved to be the pivotal figure and crossed for one of Gloucester's two tries. He also enjoyed a dream day with the boot, kicking two conversions and five penalties in a win which saw Gloucester move ahead of London Irish at the top of Pool One.

Irish, though, were the side who scored the game's first try when when wing Sailosi Tagicakibau's crossed at the Madejski Stadium, and it was the Exiles who led 10-6 at half-time. Halani Aulika and Anthony Watson both ran in tries early in the second half to extend their lead to 22-9 before tries by Dan Murphy and Burns hauled the visitors back into the contest.

Bath ran in eight second-half tries as they overwhelmed Italian side Calvisano in a one-sided 67-11 demolition in Pool Four at the Recreation Ground.

Surprisingly, Bath were only 15-8 up at the break after they responded to Luigi Ferraro's early score with tries from Nick Koster and Dominic Day before they crossed for five tries - through Horacio Agulla (two), Josh Ovens, Mark McMillan and Guy Mercer - in 15 minutes.

Bath's Scottish fly-half Tom Heathcote landed seven of the 10 conversions and a penalty to finish with a personal tally of 17 points against an Italian side which capitulated after half-time.

Meanwhile, the Newport Gwent Dragons are considering an appeal after flanker Jevon Groves was red-carded in the 30th minute of their bonus-point 31-0 triumph over part-timers Rugby Mogliano in Italy.

In the late game, London Wasps battled back from a 10-point deficit to secure a 13-13 draw against Pool Three rivals Bayonne to set up a virtually decisive return match at Adams Park next weekend.

The French side built a 10-0 lead in the first half thanks to a penalty from Jacques-Louis Potgieter and a try on the stroke of half-time from Marvin O'Connor which Potgieter converted. But the second half saw the pool leaders hit back for a share of the spoils to remain a point in front of their French opponents in the battle for a quarter-final place.

Nicky Robinson kicked a penalty after 51 minutes and then speedy wing Christian Wade crossed for a vital try. Robinson converted and then went for a match-winning drop goal with almost the last kick of the match, but failed to hit the mark.


From Belfast Telegraph