Just two days after being overlooked by Stuart Lancaster for the forthcoming QBE Internationals, the Gloucester fly-half outshone opposite number Toby Flood to help the Cherry and Whites claim a win which moves them up into second place in the Aviva Premierships table.
Burns made a try, scored a virtuoso one of his own and added 12 points with the boot, while Akapusi Qera also touched down after a devastating burst from James Simpson-Daniel.
Gloucester were forced to play minutes 59 to 69 with only 13 men after Jimmy Cowan and Rob Cook were sin-binned in quick succession, but, despite a late barrage, which included conceding penalty try, the hosts clung on.
Gloucester took just 45 seconds to break the deadlock, Charlie Sharples latching on to Burns' deft grubber kick to touch down.
After a successful conversion, Burns and Flood traded penalties, but the Tigers were soon on the board themselves when Scott Hamilton and Manu Tuilagi exchanged passes and the former showed great strength to hold off Cowan in the corner.
Another moment of pure quality from Burns extended the hosts lead in the 20th minute. After picking up Cowan's pass on the 22, the Gloucester No.10 showed great imagination and stunning control to chip the ball over the Leicester defence before collecting and touching down under the posts.
Another Flood penalty ensured Leicester trailed only 17-11 at the break and Burns and Flood continued to match each other kick-for-kick before Simpson-Daniel turned defence into attack with a blistering, weaving run that set up Qera, who cantered over.
But the game swung drastically in Leicester's favour during a crazy minute in which Gloucester duo Cowan and Cook were both yellow-carded for intentional off-side and deliberately knocking the ball dead respectively.
A penalty-try, converted quickly by Flood, reduced the deficit back to six but, despite a relentless siege late on, Gloucester hung on for a stunning win.
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