Is Freddie ready to play for England? Not quite
FREDDIE Burns showed exactly why he isn't ready for an England call-up in Gloucester's win over Leicester at the weekend.
This may sound strange given he produced some sublime moment of skill in the Cherry and Whites' best performance of the season so far, but he also made mistakes, and at international level they get punished.
Time is on the side of the Gloucester fly-half. He will get his chance in an international shirt at some point, but to throw him in too early could sap all the confidence and maturity he is slowly building under Nigel Davies at Kingsholm.
We saw with the likes of Anthony Allen – who lined up against Gloucester on Saturday – what making that step up too early can do to a player.
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I would say Allen's international development was set back two or three years by what happened on his England debut.
Only in his last two seasons at Leicester have we seen Allen start to get back to where his promising talent suggested he might reach when he was playing under Dean Ryan at Gloucester.
I've heard it said that Burns should have been called up to play only in the Fiji game, but to me that is nonsense.
Stuart Lancaster has three southern hemisphere giants to tackle after the Pacific islanders.
He will want to use that game to get his side playing, get his systems working and his players used to playing with each other again, not to blood a young fly-half and play a totally different style to the one needed against Australia just a week later.
Burns has done enough, particularly with his goal kicking (although he did miss one he should have slotted against Leicester), to put himself firmly in the minds of Lancaster and company.
He needs to keep producing it for Gloucester and add a bit of consistency – a couple of punts went awry and he put himself in trouble at least twice against the Tigers – and then he will be ready.
Of course, until then we get the pleasure of watching him play for Gloucester every week, which I for one am certainly not complaining about.