Leicester Tigers have signed five new players, as they look to return to the play-off final next season.
The big name signing is 24-year-old fly-half Freddie Burns, who joins from Gloucester as a replacement for Toulouse bound Toby Flood.
The Tigers have also brought in Benetton Treviso trio Christian Loamanu, Robert Barbieri and Leonardo Ghiraldini, as well as, 35-year-old Castres fly-half Seremaia Bai.
Leicester failed to reach the Premiership play-off final for the first time in ten years, after a narrow defeat to Northampton Saints. But they bring in brilliant talent in the form of Burns, who was confirmed to head to Welford Road in Hanuary.
Whilst he didn’t have the best of seasons, kicking just 122 points for his former club, he has picked up three England caps during his time at the Kingsholm club, making his debut in the victory over world champions New Zealand in 2012. Yet, he will have to fight for the right to wear the number 10 shirt, after current fly-half Owen Williams had a brilliant first season.
The 21-year-old took over the kicking duties from the outgoing Flood and produced some impressive displays with the boot.
New signing Bai will also be on hand to provide competition in that half-back position, with the Fijian international bringing a wealth of experience to the side. Tonga-born Japanese international Loamanu also arrives with experience at the top, having spent three years with Toulon, but will have to fight with the Premiership’s top try scorer Vereniki Goneva and American Blaine Scully for places on the wing.
Recruiting Italian internationals Ghiraldini and Barbieri allows Leicester to increase their strength in depth. Hooker Ghiraldini with have competition in English trio Tom Youngs, Neil Briggs and Rob Hawkins. Barbieri will also have trouble in getting a starting place in his flanker position with the likes of Tom Croft and Argentinian Pablo Matera standing in his way.
Yet, there will also be outgoings for the Tigers during the close-season, with number eight Thomas Waldrom amongst those, as he heads south to Exeter Chiefs. Leicester have already lost veteran hooker George Chuter, after he announced his retirement last month.
Fellow hooker Rob Hawkins will also leave club, as he travels to the north east to Newcastle Falcons, whilst his front row partner Boris Stankovich heads to Newport Gwent Dragons in Wales.
Flood is not the only fly-half to be leaving Leicester, as Ryan Lamb will join relegated side Worcester Warriors.
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