Premiership - Burns left out in the cold by Gloucester

England fly-half Freddie Burns has once again been frozen out of Gloucester's starting XV as he continues to be linked with a move to Leicester.

The Cherry and Whites travel to London Irish on Sunday with Burns named on the bench for a second successive match with Billy Twelvetrees continuing at fly-half.

Burns is expected to join Leicester next season and the 23-year-old has admitted the doubt over his future has affected his form.

There is little at stake at the Madejski Stadium, although 11th place Irish would like to increase the nine-point gap between themselves and relegation-doomed Worcester.

Gloucester are ninth and are playing for pride even though the Premiership season is only 10 games old. Scrum-half Jimmy Cowan insists they have failed to do themselves justice.

"We are not where we want to be and we are a far better outfit than what we have showed so far," Cowan said.

"Sometimes that happens with this sport, but we got ourselves into this and we can certainly get ourselves out of it.

"We will keep putting the work in and I'm sure if we do that and play with the character we have shown over the past four weeks, we can get a good platform.

"We have knuckled down this week, despite Christmas, and will hopefully go down to London Irish and pick up a win."

Former South Africa prop CJ Van Der Linde, a short-term signing until the end of the season, makes his debut for Irish at tighthead prop.