Toby Flood was dropped from England’s Elite Performance Squad yesterday but Freddie Burns was arguably the biggest victim of Stuart Lancaster’s reshuffle.
The duo have been at the centre of intense transfer speculation with Flood on his way to France in the summer and Burns widely expected to fill his void at Leicester Tigers.
Flood has clearly paid the price for turning his back on the Premiership as Lancaster casts an eye to the future with the inclusion of George Ford in the EPS.
Burns however is counting the cost of a worrying loss of form he recently blamed on uncertainty over his future. The 23-year-old has been a shadow of his former self, devoid of confidence and unable to take control.
While he remains in the EPS, he has been demoted to the Saxons squad with Northampton Saints in-form fly-half Stephen Myler drafted in for the Championship.
This may seem an odd decision but it is the right one. Myler is one of the most prolific point scorers in the Premiership and it’s deadliest goal-kicker.
In his current form Burns cannot be relied upon – especially in a red-hot Six Nations cauldron where confidence is key.
But getting a full 80 minutes and hopefully a dominant platform to play off with the Saxons will do the Cherry and Whites star the world of good.
If he rediscovers the confidence and ability we know he has in abundance there is no reason why Burns cannot return to the set-up but as it stands he would be merely a bystander.
Owen Farrell is nailed on for the number 10 jersey and in ford and Myler battling it out for a place on the bench, Lancaster has the in-form old master and apprentice at his disposal.