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Borthwick: 'He's been terrific' - Forgotten England star on fire for Leicester

Steve Borthwick /PA

Leicester head coach Steve Borthwick praised the impact fly-half Freddie Burns has made in his second spell at the club, as he orchestrated his side’s 35-20 Gallagher Premiership victory over Northampton.


Burns, who was standing in for England’s George Ford, had an eventful East Midlands derby, as he was forced off for part of the first half due to a Head Injury Assessment (HIA), but while he was on the field, he was very much on-song.

The 31-year-old returned to the Tigers last summer following a spell in Japanese rugby and he finished with a personal haul of 15 points, while being at the forefront of the leaders’ most incisive attacks.

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Borthwick said: “He’s been terrific since the day he returned.

“Our supporters played a big part in persuading him to come back to this club and he’s been terrific.

“Whatever role he’s been asked to do, he’s done it.

“He’s been excellent and there were a lot of really good performances on Friday night.

“We’ve come off two six-day turnarounds against a team that came off a bye, but the players fought really hard and they should be really proud of themselves.”

On the nature of the victory, Borthwick said: “What really pleased me was that we showed such composure after conceding an early try. We played really well.


“There are clearly areas to work on – we conceded a couple of tries we wouldn’t want to give away and a couple of penalties – but we’re really pleased with the effort of the guys.

“We want to keep growing and keep building.”

Alex Mitchell opened the scoring for Northampton before Leicester stormed into 22-5 lead through Nemani Nadolo’s double and Julian Montoya’s pushover try.

Courtnall Skosan pulled a score back for Saints, but Bryce Hegarty effectively finished the match as a contest, rendering Karl Wilkins’ late effort a consolation.

Northampton director of rugby Chris Boyd said: “I’m really disappointed to lose for the second time in a season to the Tigers – that hasn’t happened for a number of years.


“We’re disappointed with the outcome and disappointed with quite a few parts of the performance, so disappointment all-round.

“In the last 15 or 20 minutes of the first half, we loosened up and managed to score a try then we were unlucky not to score a second one, a good bit of defence from them.

“But at the end of the day we were under pressure from them physically, we were under pressure from our decision-making.

“I think we tried to overplay and we were under pressure from the referee’s whistle, which all came from various parts of pressure.

“The discipline came from the fact we weren’t getting our way in the physical battles.”


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Jon 12 minutes ago
How Maro Itoje terrorised the All Blacks lineout

Yeah England were much smarter, they put their much vaster experience to use in both the scrum (bending/not taking hit) and lineout (Itoje early sacks) law vagaries. Really though, I know what is there, I’m more worried about Englands locks. We only got to see Itoje and Martin, right? Depth allround in the England camp was probably the difference in the series and the drop off when Itoje reached his minutes limit for the season (it was like the plug was pulled from the charger) was up their with keeping Sexton on the park in that quarter final. What happened there? You have a lot of watching hours experience with locks come blindsides Nick, especially with a typical Australian player make up, have you see a six the size of Barrett absolutely dominate the position and his opposition? I can easily see Scott, and even Martin for that matter, moving to the blindside and playing like Tadgh Beirne with the amount of top locks we have coming through to partner Patrick. Still with the English mindset, because despite running the best All Black team I’ve seen in a long time close, they do need to find improvement, and although I thought they had a lot of good performances from their 7’s, I really like the prospect of Cunningham-South in his 8 spot and Earl on the open. Can you see Martin as mobile enough to take over Lawes? I absolutely loved his aggression when Jordie ran upto him to try and grab the ball. That alone is enough reason for me to try him there.

9 Go to comments
sean 2 hours ago
The bite don't match the bark

Yeah, he has a few good points… I disagree that our 7s haven't done anything, we won Bronze in 2016, and we were virtually unplayable to the backend of the “teens” winning the series. 7s is far more competitive globally than Union, so it's fair to say we haven't dominated, but we are almost always contenders. But I do agree that our national side doesn't perform nearly as well as it should between World Cups, and I do agree that our supporters can be too passionate and the opitimity of what Rugby stands against. I have said so many times. And I also believe some context needs to be taken into account with Saturday's win for Ireland. They're a really good team! Settled coaching staff, and bar a few legends retiring, they've had a full season and plenty of time together. We have some youngsters being groomed for the future, have played only 3 games now under a new coaching team with new philosophies and game plans. I'm excited by what the future of this team holds, as much as I am disappointed by the result. But unlike this article suggests, I am never going to take away from what Ireland has achieved, is achieving, and where they're heading. As a Rugby fan, I love the tight games, like the last two weekends. As a Bok Super Fan, I agree we don't perform as well as we should. And as an aside, you come play a game at 7am on our fields, bud. -2°c and frost on the field that is as hard as concrete…. Then we’ll see just how tough you are. Well done Ireland! They played well, and gave our boys a lot to think about. That's what you want from the top two teams in the world. Rugby won. The fans of this greatbsport won. A'n bullshit like this article is why Rugby is losing its identity. I don't like soccer. This article perpetuates the soccer influences the game of Rugby is starting to see. It's why Wayne Barnes retired, feared for his family, and he isn't the only ref to say so. I have called out many Bok fans for being an embarrassment to the game, and I will continue to do so., this article is close to the same bullshit. You should be better.

45 Go to comments
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