Five stars sign for Leicester

  • Last Updated: May 21 2014, 21:19 BST

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

Freddie Burns: Leicester confirm signing
Freddie Burns: Leicester confirm signing

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 No 10 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 experience and aggression to the Leicester pack.

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

Earlier Cockerill confirmed Ed Slater, Louis Deacon and Anthony Allen have agreed new contracts at the club.

Slater captained the Tigers through the final third of the season, as he secured his first call-up to the England squad.

Club vice-captains Deacon and Allen have also agreed to extend their contracts as Leicester start planning ahead for the new season.

Cockerill also confirmed that David Mele, Blaine Scully, Adam Thompstone and Gonzalo Camacho will stay at Welford Road beyond their current contracts.

"Continuity is always important in our squad and we like to keep the core of players together so they can work and develop together," Cockerill said.

"Ed Slater has had an outstanding season while Deacs and Anth Allen are among the most experienced leaders in the group and we're delighted to agree new deals with all three of them. They are very important to the squad, on and off the field.

"Adam Thompstone and David Mele have settled very well at the club and were very keen to extend their contracts while Blaine Scully is developing all the time as a player and we want him here for the longer term.

"Gonzalo has been very unlucky with injury but he wants to stay and we look forward to seeing him in a Tigers shirt.

"With a few new signings for next season too, we've done a lot of work to assemble a strong squad again and we look forward to working with them."