FREDDIE Burns is determined to unleash his frustrations on Northampton Saints after being handed Gloucester’s number 10 jersey for Saturday’s Premiership clash at Franklin’s Gardens.
The England fly-half has been on the bench for the Cherry and Whites last two encounters but will step into the starting line-up after Ryan Mills suffered a knee injury.
The ligament damage sustained by Mills is not as severe as first feared and it is hoped he will be back in contention for the visit of Newcastle Falcons on March 22, but Burns is relishing the opportunity.
Burns said: “It’s been pretty frustrating, especially at the time of year it is with the Six Nations but I’ve trained as hard as ever and made sure I’ve done my individual preparation. I just wanted to make sure that I was in a good place if Nigel wanted to chuck me back in and that I would be confident which is the case.
“You question yourself a little bit when things don’t go well, you try too hard and being on the bench is particularly difficult when you are leaving because you don’t know if you’ll play much of a part for the rest of the year.
“But I’ve made my intentions clear that I want to play as big a part as possible and that’s got to be in line with my form. I’m confident in my form and confident I can put in a good performance.”
Burns will go head-to-head with another Red Rose fly-half in Stephen Myler, the most prolific point scorer in the Premiership this season, on Saturday.
The 23-year-old admires the Saints’ play-maker but insists the Cherry and Whites cannot afford to be caught up in individual battled.
He said: “We’ve had some great games over the last couple of years but you have to focus on yourself and can’t get too caught up in the circus going on around you saying it’s Burns versus Myler.
“I spent the summer with him in Argentina, he’s a good bloke, we spent a lot of time together and he’s obviously in good form
“But it’s Gloucester versus Northampton and I’ve got to do as much as I can to make sure the Cherry and Whites get a performance and result. It will be an intriguing contest but we will be focussed on the individual parts that contribute to a team performance.”
The Cherry and Whites are the last side to have beaten the Saints in domestic action and triumphed in last season’s corresponding fixture.
Burns is adamant previous fixtures count for nothing and he expects a fiercely physical battle against the Premiership pace-setters.
But he has urged his team-mates to get stuck into Jim Mallinder’s men and continue the progress made in the last two weeks.
He added: “It’s a big game, we have a bit of momentum after Leicester and a good win on the weekend. Now we have to maintain that and hopefully came away with a result which is not impossible.
“It’s going to be tough up there but we have the frame of mind that we can get the job done. We have a good record against Northampton recently but that won’t count for much.
“They have a big pack and the only Premiership game they have lost this season is to us so that says a lot. They are physical but we have to go there and match it and come out punching.
“We’re both missing some players with the Six Nations but it will be a good occasion to get out on the pitch and have a go at them. We have to make sure we come out swinging and pile into them.”