Burns returns as Gloucester face local derby against Bath
HAVING missed Gloucester's last five matches, fly-half Freddie Burns is back for Gloucester Rugby's Aviva Premiership clash with Bath at the Rec on tonight, Friday.
The 22-year-old last featured in the Amlin Challenge Cup fixture at home to Mont-de-Marsan on January 19, but has been sidelined with a knee injury ever since.
However, after a patient period of rehabilitation, Burns is back as Director of Rugby Nigel Davies makes just three changes to his starting line up.
Mike Tindall returns in the Gloucester midfield, and will skipper Gloucester against his former club, while Nick Wood is named at loose head instead of Dan Murphy. It's round 17 of the Aviva Premiership, and the final round in this block of matches.
And, as has been the case for several weeks now, the table is incredibly congested. Gloucester currently occupy fourth place in the table, while Bath are in seventh. However, only seven points separate the two sides.
Honours are even so far this season. Gloucester won the Premiership meeting at Kingsholm, whereas Bath won the recent LV= Cup encounter, a game which Davies says Gloucester will learn from.
He said: "I think there are a couple of areas where we need to make some statements in this game, areas where we were second best in the last meeting.
"After the LV= game, I didn't make too much of it, I skipped over it in some regards as we had to focus on what was a big game following that one.
"But we've been able to dip back into that this week, and remind ourselves where we were in that game. I think that's important."
Welcoming back Burns to the starting line up is an obvious boost for Davies, a fact he readily acknowledges, but he also praised the recent contribution of Ryan Mills.
"Freddie wasn't far away last week, but he's firing on all cylinders and it's great to have him back. He's a very chirpy character who brings a lot to the group with his energy, let alone his ability.
"Ryan has been fabulous though. Coming straight back after a long injury, and not playing in his natural position. He's played in three big games for us and done a great job. He deserves a lot of credit for what he's been able to do."
Gloucester : Rob Cook; Charlie Sharples, Henry Trinder, Mike Tindall (capt), Jonny May; Freddie Burns, Dan Robson; Nick Wood, Darren Dawidiuk, Rupert Harden; Lua Lokotui, Will James; Tom Savage, Akapusi Qera, Sione Kalamafoni.