- Fly half content with 20-point haul against Barbarians
- “It’s key that you get your game-management right at international level” – Burns
Freddie Burns is determined to use a fruitful first international start against the Barbarians on Sunday as a springboard to more success in South America.
Burns set the tone for England’s assured 40-12 win at Twickenham by opening the scoring with a well-taken try after just 46 seconds, latching onto an off-load from debutant Marland Yarde and muscling over 15 metres in from the left-hand touchline.
Photo: Getty Images
The mercurial Gloucester Rugby playmaker went on to galvanise that explosive beginning with a near-faultless kicking display, eventually contributing 20 points in a momentum-building victory.
And although understandably pleased with such a return, he was quick to praise the composure of half-back partner Richard Wigglesworth, as well as the finishing prowess of some exciting outside backs.
“I’m happy,” Burns said at the final whistle. “It’s always quite strange preparing for the Barbarians because they are such an unknown quantity. To have a 40-12 win is pleasing and I feel good about my personal performance.
“It’s key at international level that you get your game-management right – you exit your 22 well and things like that. It helped to have Wiggy inside me because his box-kicking is top drawer and it took the pressure off.
“That was a big reason why it was 16-0 at half-time because we exited extremely well. You’ve got to build into games but we also showed today that when it is on to run out wide our boys can be pretty clinical.
Photo: Getty Images
“As a 10, it is really nice to have those boys outside you hungry for the ball. You only have to give it to the likes of Christian Wade, Jonny May and Marland Yarde and let them do what they do.”
Before being joined by Northampton Saint Stephen Myler, Burns had been the only out-and-out fly half in Stuart Lancaster’s squad and was under no illusions as to the importance of his role as a key strategist.
Indeed, expanding on the positives to take from the weekend, he seemed encouraged with England’s attacking shape ahead of a tough, two-match Test series against Argentina.
“This was a massive confidence-builder. If you look at who the Barbarians had out today, they were a great team. It would have been easy to fall into the trap of trying to play in their style, but we didn’t.
“We stayed true to our structure and came away with 40 points. We’ll take that and also the fact that we kept their score at nil for such a long part of the game. Obviously we are disappointed to let them have a couple of late tries, but as a whole it’s a great starting block we can build upon heading into the tour.”
Confirming the reason for his withdrawal on 64 minutes of the Barbarians match as cramp rather than anything more sinister, Burns then finished by hinting at an intention to impress further.
“After the faith that Stuart has shown it’s certainly a relief to pay him back a little bit,” he added. “There’s still a long way to go until I pay him back fully.”