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Gloucester Rugby: Freddie Burns delighted with his licence to thrill

By The Citizen  |  Posted: December 11, 2012

Freddie Burns

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NATURAL-born fly-half Freddie Burns believes Gloucester 'will keep hammering away' at their improving attacking game.

The new England cap had a first-ever outing at inside centre in Gloucester's 29-22 turnaround victory at London Irish on Saturday.

That positional switch was designed at least in part with allowing midfielder Billy Twelvetrees a rest after a hectic start to the campaign for the former Leicester Tiger.

Gloucester rallied to strike 20 points in the last 25 minutes, stealing victory and the advantage in Amlin Challenge Cup pool one.

Despite enjoying his new role at the Madejski Stadium, Burns still sees his long-term future at outside-half – and is keen to help keep pushing Gloucester's front-foot game.

Gloucester boss Nigel Davies challenged his side to expand their running game in this London Irish double-header.

Burns is relatively happy with the start of that process, but knows there is still work to do to sharpen those new attacking knives.

The 22-year-old explained: "It's nice to have that licence to play, Nigel's given it to us all year but now he wants us to take it to a new level.

"But then there's knowing when to chuck the ball about and when to kick.

"In the first half we didn't kick as much as we should have, but we wanted to see where we were as a running rugby team.

"It was nice to see we kept hammering away at that running game though, and in those last 20 minutes it came good.

"I was happy to step up when I did, it was a good experience.

"I wouldn't say it's one that I'd like to keep going back to, but if I'm asked to play at 12 I'm more than happy to do so.

"If I'm honest I just want to be considered as a ten, I don't really want to move about too much.

"I'm more than happy under the circumstances to play 12, for whoever, but I think my position is fly-half and that's the position I'll be working hard to push and progress at.

"I feel as though I'm in the form of my life so far this season, but I know there's still a lot more to come.

"And I think there's still a lot more to come from us as a team as a whole this season too, and that's very exciting."

Gloucester host London Irish at Kingsholm on Saturday (kick-off 3pm) in the return European clash, where victory would cement their status as favourites to top pool one and qualify for the quarter-finals.

Wary of Irish's more seasoned strike game, Burns said Gloucester must improve overall once again to register another pivotal result this weekend.

Burns continued: "Irish showed enough that it's going to be a hell of a battle at Kingsholm.

"They scored some good tries and caused us problems, and we'll need to make sure we improve again from last week that's for sure.

"It's going to be another tough contest."

Still revelling in his England debut in the stunning 38-21 New Zealand victory, Burns said his Gloucester team-mates helped him jolt back into Kingsholm life.

England boss Stuart Lancaster has dropped every hint going that Burns will be in January's revised Elite Player Squad.

But the Bath-born playmaker is taking nothing for granted, and knows Owen Farrell and Toby Flood remain the frontline fly-halves.

He added: "The great thing is on Tuesday I met up with the boys and we had to refocus on Irish.

"I love everything about playing for Gloucester at the minute.

"It was a little bit surreal against the All Blacks, but I was brought straight back down to earth when I got back to the club and that definitely helps you get on with the day job.

"Owen and Toby are both great players. At the beginning of the year I said the only focus was about getting Gloucester back up the league.

"If I focus on myself and make sure my game is good then others can decide if I'm worthy of a place in the England squad to start with, and then whether I've got the capability of playing ten.

"If I'm playing well and pushing Owen and Toby then that's good for the country, as healthy competition never hurt anyone."

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  • LucaTowers  |  December 11 2012, 7:24AM

    Freddie certainly has come along and thrived since he was given the lead number 10 role. He's a bit like Rupert Harden who was also made first choice in the tight-head spot and who has proved himself worthy of being given the starting shirt.

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