- Halfback pairing intent on guiding England to victory in Salta
- “We’re hoping to silence the crowd early doors” – Dickson
Halfbacks Lee Dickson and Freddie Burns are confident they have built up enough of an understanding to steer England to a series-opening win against Argentina in Salta on Saturday.
Entrusted with the nine and 10 shirts for tomorrow’s tussle with the Pumas, both men have been rewarded for impressive Aviva Premiership campaigns – Dickson guiding Northampton Saints to a final berth and Burns stringing together eye-catching performances for Gloucester Rugby.
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However, while the pair have been a part of Stuart Lancaster’s Elite Player Squad for some time, neither has been able to force their way into the match-day 23 on a consistent basis.
And Dickson, starting at scrum half for the first time since the March 2012 RBS 6 Nations victory over Ireland, was extremely eager to savour some valuable Test match game-time alongside his new partner.
“It’s a year since I started now so I’m really looking forward to getting back into that nine shirt,” he said. “It does go very quickly.”
“The good thing about Freddie is that he talks and wants the ball in his hands early. That makes my job a lot easier – it’s great to get to a breakdown and hear Freddie running his mouth outside me and telling me what he wants.
“I’m really looking forward to playing with him and hopefully we can be a good partnership.”
Set for a first full international since his debut last year – a cameo replacement appearance in England’s imperious 38-21 defeat of New Zealand – Burns highlighted the need for him to keep a handle on the flow of play at the Estadio Padre Ernesto Martearena.
But the 23 year-old also insisted that he would be aided by his teammates and could call upon the abilities of a skillful backline to share any territorial responsibilities.
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“Being a 10 in an international is all about game management so me and Dicko will look to put the boys in the right areas,” he added. “If it’s on to play we’ll back our skills and try to run them about.
“[Game management] that is something I’ve improved on with Gloucester and I was pleased with the [40-12] win over the Barbarians as well.
“With Dicko and Wiggy [Richard Wigglesworth] inside me and [Mike] Browny and Billy Twelvetrees outside me, there are some great kicking options that help to take the pressure off.
“Hopefully we can keep it varied and do well on Saturday – obviously in an attacking situation I want the ball in my hands but Dicko is also great at box-kicking and that side of his game.”
After praising Burns’ efforts in Gloucester colours and enthusing about the presence of his clubmate Billy Twelvetrees as an alternative first-receiver, Dickson turned to the raucous atmosphere expected in Salta, suggesting England’s must win the initial exchanges up front to ease the task of playing away from home.
“We’ve talked over the past couple of weeks about how [Argentina] is a passionate nation – just as our fans are when we play at Twickenham,” he explained.
“We’re hoping to silence the crowd early doors and make sure that we impose our game on them early. The first 20 minutes is going to be crucial for us and we’ve got to get our pack into the game.
“The forwards have to step up and get us the platform to either manage the game or get playing out wide.”