Leicester end trophy drought with Anglo-Welsh Cup victory over Exeter

Paul Bolton
The Telegraph
Freddie Burns inspired the win - Copyright (c) 2017 Rex Features. No use without permission.
Freddie Burns inspired the win - Copyright (c) 2017 Rex Features. No use without permission.

Freddie Burns steered Leicester to their first trophy since they won the Premiership four years ago.

The former England fly-half is heading for Bath at the end of the season, with a year left on his contract, to make way for the return of George Ford to Welford Road.

Burns has admitted to being disappointed with the way his departure has been handled but he has remained the consummate professional. Here he kicked 11 points into a strong wind to help Leicester win the Anglo-Welsh Cup, in its various guises, for the eighth time.

Those points, and Leicester’s tireless tackling in the second half, proved crucial as Exeter fly-half Joe Simmonds missed a kickable penalty in each half when the match was in the balance.

“There is an excuse there for Freddie to have a poor game, but he played a fantastic game, he led the young kids and he has been a pleasure to work with,” said Leicester assistant coach Geordan Murphy. Despite the mid-season sacking of director of rugby Richard Cockerill and an early exit from the European Champions Cup, Leicester are just a point off a Premiership play-off place.

“We have had a mixed bag of a season, at times we haven’t put in performances that would be described as Leicester Tigers-like, but today was more like what I’m used to,” Murphy said.

Leicester recovered from leaking an early try, when James Short powered over, to take a grip on the match with an interception try from Tom Brady and Burns’ accurate kicking. But the game was won in the second half when heroic defence restricted Exeter to a solitary try from Sam Simmonds which came too late to stifle Leicester’s celebrations.

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