British & Irish Lions 2013
Burns the Lions bolter?
Thu, 27 Dec 2012 16:56
He’s got a real balance to his play
Gloucester flyhalf Freddie Burns’s brilliant form could see him being a surprise selection for the British and Irish Lions for next year’s tour Down Under.
Burns only has one Test cap to his name, coming off the bench to kick two penalties in England’s record-breaking win over the All Blacks at Twickenham on December 1.
But, despite his inexperience at Test level, Gloucester forwards coach Carl Hogg believes Burns will be difficult to overlook if he continues his current match-winning form.
Burns is the top points scorer in the Premiership and added another 18 to his tally as Gloucester dug deep to see off Exeter at the weekend.
The 22-year-old produced an assured display in far from helpful weather conditions at Kingsholm and Hogg feels he is getting better every week.
“Freddie’s matured a lot over the last six months,” said Hogg, after his side moved up to fourth in the Premiership table.
“It’s not about Freddie playing for England, it’s about Freddie playing for Gloucester.
“He’s got a real balance to his play and he understands the momentum of the game.
“I thought some of his kicking out of hand was excellent. He’s marshalling us very well.
“It’s no surprise that we’re sitting fourth in the table now and Freddie needs to take a lot of credit for that.”
Burns will hope to continue to put pressure on both Toby Flood and Owen Farrell for the England No.10 shirt in the Six Nations.
And while his inclusion in the touring party at this stage would be considered unlikely, recent history suggests that he has every reason to hope.
The likes of Leigh Halfpenny, Andy Powell, Ugo Monye, Riki Flutey and Keith Earls were all uncapped prior to the end-of-year series in the lead up to the last Lions tour so there’s no reason why Burns, especially with Wales flyhalf Rhys Priestland currently sidelined, couldn’t follow suit this time around.
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