Gloucester head coach Nigel Davies backs Freddie Burns' England claims
Head coach Nigel Davies insists Gloucester fly-half Freddie Burns has underlined his England claims.
Last Updated: 24/11/12 7:42pm
Burns outshone former golden boy Danny Cipriani at Kingsholm, landing five first-half penalties and controlling Gloucester's game pattern with another accomplished showing.
Davies said: "I think he has played superbly well. I think he has got everything that an international outside-half needs.
"What we have seen here with him is a maturity which probably wasn't there in the past - but his game management today was excellent.
"He kept the ball in front of his pack for the best part of the game and put a lot of pressure on Sale as a result.
"Then to step up and get the points - and they weren't easy kicks - he never looked like missing.
"For me, he is an exceptional player, somebody who is on top of his game at the moment."
The defeat means Sale have lost eight of their nine Premiership matches, but chief executive Steve Diamond said: "I still thought we were in this match at half-time. We are disappointed.
"Our average penalty count this season is 10 (given away) and it was 21 today which says something about the (referee's) interpretation.
"We go back to the drawing board, back to basics and rebuild next week for Northampton at home."