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Italy

Leicester sign five internationals

21st May 2014 18:55

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Italy Treviso Leonardo Ghiraldini

New Tiger: Leonardo Ghiraldini

Leicester Tigers have confirmed the arrival of five international players, including Gloucester fly-half Freddie Burns.

England international fly-half Burns will be joined at Welford Road by Italy's first-choice hooker Leonardo Ghiraldini, Azzurri back-rower Robert Barbieri, Fiji playmaker Seremaia Bai and Tongan-born former Japan centre Christian Loamanu.

Burns has long been rumoured to be joining Tigers and director of rugby Richard Cockerill has finally confirmed the signature of the 24-year-old, who will replace Toulouse-bound Toby Flood.

"Freddie is a very good player and he has had a tough year," said Cockerill told the Leicester Mercury.

"It will take him a little while to adapt but he will benefit from our environment.

"He will be playing in a good side that is very disciplined. He will be asked to conform to what we do and how we do things and he will be better for it - as Toby Flood was after he joined us.

"Issues with players generally come from lack of leadership. He will know exactly what is required from us as a club and as coaches."

Burns will compete for the number ten jersey with Owen Williams while Fijian veteran Bai, who kicked the winning drop-goal for Castres in last weekend's Top 14 semi-final against Montpellier, will provide back up.

Seasoned Test forwards Barbieri and Ghiraldini will add serious grunt to the Leicester pack.

"They are all good players who will strengthen the squad," said Cockerill.

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PosTeamPPts
1Ireland58
2England58
3Wales56
4France56
5Scotland52
6Italy50