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Davies: Talks ongoing with Burns

Gloucester director of rugby Nigel Davies said the club are still in talks with fly-half Freddie Burns about his future after the Cherry and Whites sent Worcester crashing to their 10th defeat of the Aviva Premiership season.

Burns was dropped to the replacements bench on form for the derby clash and watched his fellow England international Billy Twelvetrees fill his fly-half boots to kick four penalties against two from Worcester's stand-off Ignacio Mieres in a 12-6 victory.

Leicester are reported to be chasing three-times capped Burns, with current England ace Toby Flood deciding to leave Welford Road at the end of the season.

That could open the door for Burns to join the Tigers but Davies said the player's Gloucester future was being kept under wraps for now.

He said: "We are in discussions with him and when we are ready to make an announcement, we will do so."

However, when pressed on whether that announcement would be in the near future, Davies added: "Well maybe. We will just have to wait and see. Freddie Burns is a professional and whatever he does, he will do as professionally as he can.

"From our own point of view, we are only focused on this season. We have a lot of work to do. It was a relief to get that result today and we have to build on that and keep on doing what we are doing.

"Freddie will be a big part of this season and, as I say, when we are good and ready to talk about next season, we will make that statement. There is nothing concrete to say at present."

Davies also felt it was "absolutely the right decision" to play Twelvetrees, who is generally a centre, at fly-half.

The Gloucester boss added: "Billy adds another dynamic. Freddie has not been on the top of his game and he openly admits that so to take him out of the firing line today was very important."

The win takes Gloucester above Newcastle but the match itself was grim.

Handling errors, scrums which seemed to take forever to complete and very few scoring chances led to a dreadful affair.

The only light moment was before kick-off when fans in the pre-game entertainment brought a crossbar on one set of posts tumbling to the ground, leaving Gloucester groundstaff having to put it back together and delaying kick-off by half-an-hour.

Davies said: "This game has been on the horizon for a while. The game itself was extra long with the goalposts coming down. But the key thing from my players' point of view was we were under a lot of pressure and they showed good character in a typically hard-fought derby match."

Worcester director of rugby Dean Ryan, meanwhile, was enraged by a couple of incidents in the match. One if which was when replacement Paul Warwick drove for the tryline but referee J P Doyle did not ask the fourth official to check the TV replay for a try.

Ryan said: "I thought the penalty against us at 9-6 was just shocking and I don't understand it. And then why we didn't go for a TMO decision (for the possible try) when watching it on TV was finite just amazes me.

"For us to be forced to play a ball which is over the line with about 20 people in a ruck and then get turned over is just abysmal. The fourth official is there and he needs to sit there, watch the TV screen and get his protractor out to measure whether it touches the line. For him (JP Doyle) to say he did not think it was is just appalling.

"That would have been a five-metre scrum and potentially our chance to win the game. That is why I am annoyed but I am pretty proud of the players today. We are getting better irrespective who we play. So I am looking forward to the new year."


From Belfast Telegraph