George Ford: Leicester Tigers re-sign England fly-half, Freddie Burns joins Bath

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Archive: Leicester signing Ford scores for England in Six Nations

Leicester Tigers have re-signed Bath's England fly-half George Ford for the start of next season, with Freddie Burns moving in the opposite direction.

Ford, 23, was contracted to Bath until the end of next season, but Tigers have paid a record fee between two English clubs to buy him out of his deal.

Ford emerged through Leicester's academy but left to join Bath in 2013.

Fellow fly-half Burns, 26, joined the Tigers from Gloucester in 2014 after starting his career with Bath.

Ford made his Leicester debut as a 16-year-old in November 2009, winning the Premiership and the Anglo-Welsh Cup before his switch to Bath, where he played in the European Challenge Cup final in 2014 and the Premiership final in 2015.

He won his 32nd England cap in the Six Nations win over Wales last weekend.

"This hasn't been an easy decision for me to make, but I feel it is the best one for me at this time," said Ford, who initially moved to the Rec when his father Mike - now head coach of Top 14 side Toulon - was on the coaching staff.

"I've really enjoyed my time at Bath and have worked with some incredible players and coaches."

Tigers head coach Aaron Mauger told his club's website: "George has become one of the leading players in his position in Europe and is still a young man with a lot of rugby ahead him.

"While delighted to be able to bring in George, we are disappointed to lose Freddie who has been an outstanding player for us in the last three years."

'Opportunity I have dreamt of'

Freddie Burns
Freddie Burns has kicked 337 points for Leicester in 46 Premiership appearances since joining from Gloucester

Burns first emerged as an England international during his five years at Gloucester, making his debut at Twickenham against New Zealand in 2012.

He won the last of his five England caps against the All Blacks in June 2014, and said he was delighted to return to Bath.

"The opportunity for me to represent my hometown club is one I have dreamt of from the day I started playing rugby," he told Bath's website.

Bath's director of rugby Todd Blackadder said: "We are really excited to be working with Freddie next season.

"He is a fantastic player, who has really developed into an all-encompassing fly-half in the last couple of years and I'm looking forward to seeing that fit into our game here.

"We are naturally disappointed that George has decided to leave. He is a great player and I have enjoyed working with him."

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