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Burns junior wants to dominate with Freddie for years to come

By The Citizen  |  Posted: January 26, 2013

Billy Burns

Billy Burns

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BILLY Burns still cannot believe he is trusted to drive a car – but he would love the licence to run the Gloucester backline.

The 18-year-old wants to dominate Kingsholm with older brother Freddie in the years to come, no matter who wins the fight to play fly-half.

Academy playmaker Burns Junior's big family dreams have a clear cherry and white tint, but for now he will concentrate on the more immediate but no less challenging aims.

The Bath-born England age-group cap cannot believe it is nearly a year since he made his Gloucester debut at London Irish.

Burns Junior stepped off the bench to replace Mike Tindall at ten and then produced a great impression of his older brother as Gloucester edged to 23-15 LV=Cup victory on April 4, 2012, thanks to two Ian Clark tries.

The confidence to stand flat and hit the line aged just 17. Now where have we seen that before?

Billy admits that rugby assurance must be in the genes but also concedes where the driving is concerned, there is no such luck.

He explained: "I was on the way to my driving test when I got the call from our Academy manager at the time Billy Clark, to tell me I was on the bench for that match.

"I was so nervous about the game that the test went by in a bit of a blur and that's the main reason I passed!

"I'm one of the worst drivers around, but somehow I managed to get through – I think because I wasn't panicking because I was thinking about the rugby.

"I can't believe it's a year since that game, it's come around so quickly."

The LV=Cup has saved itself through reinvention as a development competition, with fixtures aligned purposely with autumn internationals and the Six Nations.

It is the life blood of tomorrow's top talents, a godsend for the likes of Burns Junior.

The England Under-18 cap will be keen to add to his one first-team appearance for the season in this fortnight, but not intent on repeating the broken collar bone that cut short an impressive outing in Gloucester's 33-27 defeat by Ospreys in November.

Freddie Burns and Billy Twelvetrees' Six Nations calls, coupled with a season-ending injury to Tim Taylor, could open other avenues for Billy Burns in the next six weeks.

Older brother Freddie might be pushing Stuart Lancaster's full England starting line-up, but he also admits he is nervously looking over his shoulder at his fast-developing sibling.

Burns the younger does not believe that hype but will still dream of one day conquering Kingsholm as a duo.

Billy continued: "I don't know whether Freddie's just saying that to psych me out or not.

"It's great having a bit of rivalry with Fred, but it's not as though I can lay too much claim right now.

"Trying to challenge for any time in the first team is tough, but it's also a great thing to work for.

"But I can't hide from the fact that he taught me everything I know.

"We do relish that challenge, though, it's pretty healthy and we enjoy it all.

"The dream would definitely be to play in the same Gloucester starting team.

"We still argue over who would have to play 12 or full-back, but that would be amazing.

"Growing up we've always been the two in our family who have tried to play together, and so doing that for Gloucester at Kingsholm would be incredible.

"My mum would be in a right state if it ever happened, though!

"Our family have been brilliant pushing us in the right direction and at the right times, and it would be just as big a deal for them as it would be for us.

"Right now I just want to get hold of whatever chance possible, it's great to be fit after the injury.

"I've been called up into the England Under-20s training camp, and that's a big boost.

"So I've just got to keep plugging away with all of that, working hard to make an impression.

"Maybe if there's any chances with Freddie and Billy being involved with the Six Nations, that would be great too, of course, but I'm not about to get ahead of myself."

■ Mont de Marsan prop Morgan Phelipponneau has been banned for four weeks for punching Gloucester tighthead Shaun Knight twice in the head.

Phelipponneau pleaded not guilty at a hearing in Dublin yesterday, but lost his case and will be out of action until Monday, February 18.

The 23-year-old front-rower struck Knight twice in Gloucester's 36-16 Mont de Marsan victory in the Amlin Challenge Cup last weekend.

Independent judicial officer Mark McParland imposed the four-week sentence, the hearing called after Gloucester lodged a citing complaint after Saturday's match.

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  • H_Sparks  |  January 26 2013, 8:33AM

    I was expecting to see Burns Jr. in the line up against Saints in the LV= cup, just as I am expecting to see our best and most talented tight head, Rupert Harden, in the starting line up against Saints when the Premiership games start again.

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