Aviva Premiership: Leicester Tigers planning to hold talks with Freddie Burns
Last Updated: 14/01/14 2:49pm
Richard Cockerill: Wants Freddie Burns to replace the departing Toby Flood
Leicester Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill says the club hopes to open talks with Freddie Burns in the coming weeks.
England fly-half Burns announced that he will leave Gloucester at the end of the season and has been strongly linked with a move to Welford Road.
With Toby Flood departing Leicester for France this summer, Cockerill is on the lookout for a fly-half, and he told Sky Sports News that Burns would be an ideal replacement.
"It's well known that Toby is leaving and Freddie Burns is a fantastic English player," said Cockerill. "He is certainly someone that we would be interested in.
"We'll be having discussions with him and a few others over the next few weeks.
"It's not a surprise that Gloucester have announced he's leaving, so they can get on with their own business.
"Now we can get on with our business of talking to the right people and making sure we get the right recruits in for next season."
Cockerill also confirmed reports that Manu Tuilagi is nearing full fitness and could return to action towards the end of next month, which would put him in contention for England's final two RBS Six Nations fixtures.
Tuilagi making progress
"Hopefully by the end of February he should be 100 per cent fit and playing for us," continued Cockerill.
"If he's playing well for us and has a couple of games under his belt, he should potentially be fit towards the end of the Six Nations.
"But we'll have to see how his form is. He's only played one game this season, but Manu being Manu, he's working hard on his conditioning and brings a unique skill set to both ourselves and England.
"Once he's fit and has played a game or two, you'd expect him to be back in the England team."
Having booked their place in the Heineken Cup knockout stages with victory over Treviso last weekend, Leicester host unbeaten Ulster in their final pool game on Saturday where victory for either side will clinch a home quarter-final.
"It's very important to try and get a home quarter-final," added Cockerill. "It gives you the best opportunity of reaching the semi-finals, and once you get to the last-four, anything is possible.
"Both ourselves and Ulster will be gunning for each other and hopefully that will make for a good spectacle."
Watch Leicester Tigers v Ulster live on Sky Sports 2 from 5.45pm on Saturday