FREDDIE Burns wants to lay down a marker in an England Saxons shirt after admitting that he has rediscovered his swagger.
The 23-year-old Gloucester fly-half will hope to star on home turf when the Irish Wolfhounds come to Kingsholm on Saturday (5pm).
Burns will be joined in England’s second string squad by teammates Elliott Stooke, Charlie Sharples for what he calls a “massive” opportunity to impress.
After seeing his form take a nose dive as rumours over his future made the headlines, Burns bounced back with a superb show at Perpignan last weekend.
And he will look to build on that performance on home turf with the knowledge that a stand-out performance could elevate him in to Stuart Lancaster’s Six Nations squad.
“It’s a massive game for me,” Burns said.
“The fact I am still in the Elite Performance Squad means there’s still might be a chance for me in the senior squad.
“I was led to believe by Stuart that if I get some form, and show I can control and play well in an international game, I can hopefully use that as a stepping stone into the Six Nations squad.
“I’ve got my confidence and swagger back and hopefully I can take another step forward with the Saxons.
“It’s a chance for me to put a marker down and prove a point.
“I have been around the England squad for a few years and you always want that opportunity to start.
“I had that in the summer and it went well but everyone is aware of my form in the last six months.”
bBurns admits missing the cut for England’s opening Six Nations game against France was disappointing, but not surprising.
But promising Heineken Cup performances against Munster and Perpignan has restored faith and the Bath-born playmaker believes his resurgence in form is down to playing a style more suited to him.
He said: “It’s something I went away from at the beginning of the season.
“Sometimes you get caught up on what you think other people want from you but you have to stay true to yourself.
“I have to be pragmatic and controlling but my point of difference is my attacking game. Hopefully I can get back to that and build on it with the Saxons.
“There’s a reason why I have been in the England squad in the past and that’s because of the style I play.
“I was disappointed not to be in that England squad but you understand where you are and they were clear that if I had two good Heineken Cup games and did well for the Saxons I could be back in the squad.
“Sometimes you need that kick up the backside but I’m back playing a style I enjoy and believe in and that’s vital.
“The Six Nations is all about momentum and for me it’s about getting back to the game I enjoy.”
Burns is expecting the Wolfhounds to be tough and to play a brand of rugby similar to that Gloucester witnessed on their trip to Munster.
He added: “It’s great that it’s at Kingsholm, hopefully we can get a big crowd and put in a performance.
“The Wolfhounds are always tough. I played them a couple of years ago down at Sandy Park.
“Irish rugby is in a very good place and we saw that with Munster.
“We’re expecting a tough, physical encounter but we have named a strong squad and I’m confident we can put in a performance.”
England Saxons are due to name their team for the game at 9am today, with Burns, Stooke and Sharples all set to be involved.
Scrum-half Dan Robson has been training with the squad this week as injury cover for Exeter’s former Gloucester number nine Dave Lewis and Wasps’ Joe Simpson