Stuart Lancaster hails 'special' Burns ahead of England's clash with All Blacks

Last Updated: 29/11/12 6:26pm

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England coach Stuart Lancaster has named Freddie Burns among the replacements for the clash with the All Blacks

England coach Stuart Lancaster has named Freddie Burns among the replacements for the clash with the All Blacks

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England coach Stuart Lancaster insists he has no qualms about handing Freddie Burns his first cap against New Zealand on Saturday.

Burns has been in superb form for Gloucester this season and is named among the replacements after an injury to fly-half Toby Flood saw Owen Farrell drafted into the starting line-up.

The All Blacks have named an experienced side for the Twickenham clash, boasting a combined total of 788 caps compared to England's 206, but Lancaster believes Burns can produce the goods at the highest level.

"Nothing comes bigger than playing the All Blacks at Twickenham. We desperately want to give the fans something to cheer about."
Stuart Lancaster

"Freddie has been outstanding in the Premiership this season," said Lancaster, who hinted Burns will be included in England's EPS squad in January.

"He brings a special quality in terms of his creativity, and his kicking game and game management have improved.

"It's been hard for us to integrate him. He's had to work his way through the Saxons into the senior squad but now he's got his opportunity."

The only other change from the loss to South Africa is the inclusion of Courtney Lawes on the bench after injury, and Lancaster believes he can make an impact against the world champions.

Lancaster looking forward to All Blacks challenge

Physical

"He's one of the most physical defenders in the Premiership, and from a lineout point of view, he's a great physical forward," said Lancaster.

"He's still young, as a lot of our side are, but he's a player you'd want on the bench to bring on."

England have suffered back-to-back defeats against Australia and South Africa, but Lancaster insists his squad aren't daunted by facing an All Blacks side that are unbeaten in 20 games.

"We're ready for it," he stated. "The frustration that we lost last week; we felt we put in a performance that deserved a win. We didn't get and we'll try to use that frustration in a positive way.

"Nothing comes bigger than playing the All Blacks at Twickenham. We desperately want to give the fans something to cheer about.

"You look at the experience of the All Blacks side and the quality of their players, but we're on a journey ourselves.

"We'll undoubtedly learn from this experience, but it's all about winning on Saturday and that's what we're driving towards."

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