BILLY Burns is ready to follow in his brother’s footsteps in the latest chapter of his burgeoning career.
The rookie fly-half is one of three Gloucester starlets, along with Ross Moriarty and Jonny Hill, who were named in the England Under-20s squad for the Junior World Championship in New Zealand next month.
Older brother Freddie trod the same path in 2010 and Burns junior is well aware that all eyes will be on England as the reigning champions but he insists the current squad have achieved nothing yet.
Burns said: “We go there as reigning champions but that was a different squad. We have the tag but as a squad we all know we haven’t won anything and our feet are firmly on the ground.
“It’s very exciting and after a pretty successful Six Nations campaign it was always my goal to get my name down for the Junior World Championship. It’s a relief to see I’m there and it’s only just hit home but I’m well aware it all starts here.
“There are a lot of boys at Gloucester who have come through England Under-20s and they have been great. Freddie’s told me what a quick turnaround it is with five or six games in a short time so I know recovery and looking after yourself will be key.
“We have a lot to live up to but it’s just the beginning.”
Burns featured in four matches as England finished second in the Under-20s Six Nations and while he was disappointed not to take the title, he insists everything has been geared towards the global showpiece in New Zealand.
Nick Walshe has named seven players who featured during last year’s triumphant campaign which saw England beat a Wales team, which included Nigel Davies’ son Sam, in the final.
And Burns insists that experience will be invaluable as England, who have been drawn in Group A alongside Italy, Argentina and Australia, bid to defend their crown in the toughest of environments.
He said: “The Six Nations was a really good experience; it was amazing to play in such big games and a massive honour. We felt we should have won it but that just makes us all the hungrier.
“It’s massive to have seven lads who went last year, especially with them having won it. They know exactly what is expected and they can pass it on to the new players. It’s great to have that experience and they can guide us but we all have to dig in together.
“It’s a very tough group and we know we will have to start well against Italy. We perhaps took them a bit lightly in the Six Nations and they gave us a really tough game. We can’t just expect to beat them, they will be really up for it and know all about us.”
Burns is likely to partner Callum Braley, who has been linked with a move to Gloucester, at half-back and he reckons their relationship and understanding with continue to flourish.
He added: “It’s great to play alongside Callum. I went to college with him and we’ve come through the age groups together. We have a great relationship, he’s very calm and I feel we complement each other.
“We showed during the Six Nations that we have a lot of talented individuals that can go a long way in the game. “