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Cook sorry to see back of Burns

Rob Cook has described his Gloucester team-mate Freddie Burns' impending departure from Kingsholm as "a massive loss" for the Aviva Premiership club.

England international fly-half Burns will make his final Heineken Cup appearance for Gloucester when they visit Pool Six rivals Perpignan on Sunday.

Burns will leave at the end of this season, Gloucester have confirmed, with Leicester expected to be his destination as replacement for France-bound Toby Flood.

"It's a massive loss for us," Gloucester full-back Cook said.

"Freddie is a big guy around the team, he is very confident and we will miss him.

"Freddie is only 23, but he is such an experienced player and a lot of players look up to him.

"It's disappointing, but these things happen in professional sport. He has chosen to move on, and we will move on, too.

"What is not in doubt is that Freddie will give us 100 per cent until he leaves, and hopefully he can go out with a bang with some strong results by the end of the season."

Gloucester are out of quarter-final contention prior to the Perpignan trip, with Irish heavyweights Munster having already won the group. If Munster beat Edinburgh on Sunday, it could secure a home quarter-final tie.

Edinburgh defeated Munster when the teams met at Murrayfield on the opening weekend of pool stage action in October, and Munster head coach Rob Penney said: "Edinburgh are a really quality side.

"They've got some quality players playing well, and they are a challenge."

Harlequins head to Llanelli on Sunday knowing that defeat against the Scarlets will see their European hopes go west for another season.

Not only must Quins avenge a Heineken home defeat against the Scarlets earlier this season in their quest for a consolation prize of an Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-final place, they also need to bounce back from last weekend's damaging Pool Four loss to Clermont Auvergne.

That Clermont setback ended Quins' Heineken ambitions, but the Scarlets hauled themselves into Amlin contention by beating Racing Metro in Paris the previous evening.

"The pleasing thing is that we've given ourselves a chance to get into the quarter-finals," Scarlets head coach Simon Easterby said.

"We would have liked to stay in the Heineken, Cup but the efforts of the players last weekend against Racing Metro have given us a chance of getting into the Amlin.

"We recorded a great win over Harlequins at The Stoop in the first round of the competition. Certain things went the right way for us that day, and we played some really good rugby.

"It was a good game, we attacked really well and our defence stood up against Quins, who are one of the best attacking forces in European rugby."

Quins will be without their exciting wing Charlie Walker, who ruptured a pectoral muscle during the Clermont game. He has undergone surgery and is not expected back in action until April.

England scrum-half Danny Care, who was also injured against Clermont, is replaced by Karl Dickson, but England skipper Chris Robshaw starts ahead of reporting for Six Nations training duty on Monday.


From Belfast Telegraph