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Freddie Burns handed first start back at Leicester but not at No10

By Liam Heagney

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Freddie Burns is set to make his first Gallagher Premiership start in his second coming at Leicester, but not in his familiar out-half position as he has been chosen by Steve Borthwick to wear the No15 shirt versus Saracens at Mattioli Woods Welford Road this Saturday. 

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It will be Burns’ first time to start at full-back since a November 2019 spell at Bath where he started at No15 for three successive games versus Wasps, Northampton and Ulster. Now back at Leicester following his year in Japan, Burns was given just a few minutes off the bench in the opening round win over Exeter but he is now primed for much greater involvement. 

It was January 2017 against Wasps when he last started at full-back for Leicester in the last season of his initial three-year stint at the club, but he has now got the nod from Borthwick to occupy that role with Freddie Steward held in reserve this week. 

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Steward was one of five Leicester players who attended the recent England mini-training camp and Ben Youngs, who finished up early at that session in London due to the minor thigh injury sustained in the round two league win at Gloucester, has been passed fit to start at scrum-half. His half-back partner will be George Ford, the headline England squad omission, who will go head to head against Owen Farrell, the England captain and Saracens No10.  

Regarding Leicester’s other England training squad picks, George Martin will start at blindside, club skipper Ellis Genge and the aforementioned Steward make the bench but there is no spot in the matchday 23 for Joe Heyes. Elsewhere, Tonga international Hosea Saumaki will make his Premiership debut on the wing.

Meanwhile, the inclusion of Farrell to start is one of three changes to the Saracens XV following their win at Bristol in round one. Lions tourist Jamie George and Max Malins, who was injured on England summer series duty, are included at hooker and full-back respectively. 

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LEICESTER: 15. Freddie Burns; 14. Kobus van Wyk, 13. Guy Porter, 12. Dan Kelly, 11. Hosea Saumaki; 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs; 1. Francois van Wyk, 2. Nic Dolly, 3. Dan Cole, 4. Calum Green, 5. Ollie Chessum, 6. George Martin, 7. Tommy Reffell, 8. Hanro Liebenberg (capt). Reps: 16. Tom Cowan-Dickie, 17. Ellis Genge, 18. Nephi Leatigaga, 19. Harry Wells, 20. Cameron Henderson, 21. Jack van Poortvliet, 22. Juan Pablo Socino, 23. Freddie Steward.

SARACENS: 15. Max Malins; 14. Alex Lewington, 13. Alex Lozowski, 12. Nick Tompkins, 11. Rotimi Segun, 10. Owen Farrell (capt), 9. Aled Davies; 1. Ralph Adams-Hale, 2. Jamie George, 3. Marco Riccioni, 4. Nick Isiekwe, 5. Tim Swinson, 6. Jackson Wray, 7. Ben Earl, 8. Billy Vunipola. Reps: 16. Tom Woolstencroft, 17. Eroni Mawi, 18. Alec Clarey, 19. Callum Hunter-Hill, 20. Andy Christie, 21. Joe Simpson, 22. Alex Goode, 23. Dom Morris.

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Freddie Burns handed first start back at Leicester but not at No10

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