Physio saved my Six Nations – Gloucester Rugby's Freddie Burns
FREDDIE Burns admits he owes his Six Nations selection to Gloucester physio Adam Brett.
Fit-again Cherry and Whites fly-half Burns takes a seat on the bench for England's clash with Italy tomorrow (kick-off 3pm).
If Burns (left) replaces Toby Flood at Twickenham for his Six Nations debut the 22-year-old will say a quiet thankyou to Kingsholm medical staff member Brett.
Burns hailed Brett for giving up his spare time to help him beat the knee ligament damage sustained in Gloucester's 36-16 victory over Mont de Marsan in time to take any part in the Six Nations.
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Without Brett's help, in setting up daily visits to the hyperbaric oxygen chamber at the Gloucestershire Multiple Sclerosis Therapy and Information Centre, Burns said he would not have been involved in tomorrow's contest.
The Bath-born playmaker said: "I owe a lot to Adam Brett at the club, as soon as I got injured at the club, from the first week he took me on and got me sorted with the oxygen chambers, then helped me with the jabs.
"He helped me work hard and he put some of his own time aside to help me work hard to get back.
"He knew how desperate I was to get back into action for part of the Six Nations. He really helped me get on point, ticking all the boxes.
"So if it weren't for Adam I would probably still be injured now, so I just want to say thanks to him for that, and I'm very happy that it's worked out and I'm back to it."
Burns sustained the injury against Mont de Marsan on January 19.
With Brett's help he fought back to fitness for last weekend's Premiership clash against Bath at The Recreation Ground, where Gloucester just lost out 31-25.
England boss Stuart Lancaster challenged Burns to prove his fitness in that clash and the Kingsholm attacking pivot has passed that test in style.
He said: "I feel fresh, I've got the snappiness back, I've missed playing rugby and I'm just so happy to be back.
"When you sit and watch the big games, it hits home what it is to be out there and playing.
"It was a really disappointing time to get injured, but I'm back now and I'm ready for the sharp-end of the season.
"I'm delighted to have this chance so soon after returning from injury, and it's one I'm hoping to take with both hands."
Gloucester duo Burns and Billy Twelvetrees will sit side by side on England's bench tomorrow, and hope to pair up in the midfield in the second half.
England head coach Lancaster pitted the Gloucester fulcrums together in midweek training session where tomorrow's starting line-up had to spend 20 minutes on solid defence.
Lancaster admitted Burns 'orchestrated' the reserve backline in that session, creating the kind of havoc with Twelvetrees the pair do at Gloucester.
Burns enjoyed the experience but wants to replicate it for real in tomorrow's test arena.
He said: "You get to attack against the team, watching the way the Italians play is very open, and Andy Farrell turned round and told us we had licence to do whatever we want.
"And me and Billy had a few little combinations that seemed to come off.
"And hopefully we can get on the pitch on Sunday and make them come off there too.
"Everyone knows that Owen Farrell's picked up an injury that has opened a door for me. But you have to take the chances when they come.
"And it would be incredibly exciting to get some time together with Billy as well, and build on what we've done together at Gloucester."
Victory tomorrow combined with other results across the tournament could seal the Six Nations title for England with a week of the tournament still to play.
Burns rejected any such discussion, though, preferring to focus on the task in hand.
He said: "Any talk of a title is premature.
"Italy beat France and proved they are a quality team when they get it right. The only focus this week has been Italy on Sunday, nothing else. If we don't hit our form then we'll be in for a tough afternoon."