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18th Jun 2022

Last-gasp Freddie Burns drop goal clinches Premiership title for Leicester Tigers

Patrick McCarry

Freddie Burns


Cometh the 80th minute, cometh Freddie Burns.

Leicester Tigers outhalf Freddie Burns entered the fray earlier than expected, after George Ford limped off. He had a fine game, then won it at the death with a clutch drop goal.

Tigers, who only avoided Premiership relegation in 2020 after Saracens’ points deduction for illegal player salaries, fell behind to an early Owen Farrell penalty but roared back after a big Wayne Barnes call. The referee opted to only yellow card Aled Davies after a high shot on Julian Montoya, but Leicester made the temporary man advantage count – Hanro Liebenburg and Jasper Wiese scoring tries.

Leicester led 12-6 at the break, but they could not add to that tally, for another 45 minutes. It allowed Sarries to get their foot wedged in the door. Owen Farrell added penalties on the 64th minute and, after Tigers’ Matt Scott had been sin-binned, the 76th minute.

Down to 14 men for the final few minutes, the final looked to be heading for extra time, and a possible kicking competition. Leicester were not finished yet, though, and they got possession just outside the Sarries’ 22 after a prolonged spell of kick tennis.

Saracens defended well, inside their 22, but Freddie Burns was already in the pocket and sizing up a drop goal. Leicester were patient, and Burns, when his moment arrived, stepped up to split the posts.

‘It’s honestly amazing’ – Freddie Burns

Leicester Tigers captain Ellis Genge is heading back to Bristol, next season, to link up with Pat Lam’s Bears side. As one of his final duties as captain, Genge was beaming as he raised the Premiership trophy aloft.

He was joined by the recently retired Leicester legend Tom Youngs, who’s wife, Tiffany, passed away, a fortnight ago, after a long battle with cancer.

After a spell over in Japan, Freddie Burns returned to the Premiership and joined up with Leicester for what he deemed ‘unfinished business’. Standing on the Twickenham pitch with a winners’ medal around his neck, Burns told BT Sport:

“I’m all cried out. I need to top my fluids up with some champagne and cider!

“To do it with this team, and these boys, it’s honestly amazing,” he added. “When I started this journey with my local rugby club, at five years old, I had two ambitions – play for England and win the Premiership. I’ve done both now.”

As we often say after dour, kick-heavy matches, this was one for the purists. After a dramatic end like that, though, it was one for the romantics, too.

Man of the Match: Freddie Burns (Leicester Tigers)