Luther gets ready to rumble
When told that his success rate was three per cent higher than that of returning prodigal Danny Cipriani, whose status as Sale’s main kicker included a good number of much simpler kicks, a smile briefly crosses Daly’s face. However, the professional facade is quickly resumed as he assesses his performances with the boot. LUTHER Burrell is ready for the “big collisions” that await in Australia as he targets a starting role as England’s midfield battering ram for the first Test against the Wallabies.
Burrell has been chosen ahead of Ollie Devoto to replace the injured Manu Tuilagi in the 32-man squad that heads Down Under on Tuesday following a try-scoring performance in the 27-13 victory over Wales at Twickenham
The Brisbane opener on Saturday week is now a realistic objective for Burrell, who could be the beneficiary if head coach Eddie Jones drops the underperforming George Ford in favour of moving Owen Farrell from inside centre to fly-half.
Uncapped rugby league convert Ben Te’o and rookie Henry Slade are the alternatives at 12, giving Burrell hope of making the second appearance of his Test comeback since being controversially omitted from the squad for last autumn’s World Cup.
If Jones opts for the 28-year-old Saint, his primary role will be to use his strength to punch holes in the Wallabies’ defence.
“Against Wales you could see soon as we get on the front-foot, we want to pound the gainline,” said Burrell. “You are putting your body on the line, you are going to take collisions and some of the contacts against Wales were massive.
“We know that with the back-row Australia
“I think 65 per cent is a little low, and I would like to improve it,” he says.
“It is something I have been working on, and I’ve taken probably three times the amount of kicks this year compared with past years.
“It feels like I have got some of the harder ones and missed the easier ones, so I need to have a look at that, and work have, we are going to take some big collisions. It’s a high tempo, high intensity game plan that we want to have in place. It was fantastic to get back for England. I’m going to enjoy every moment and opportunity I get.
“Eddie he will be picking the players who are performing and training best. I will continue working hard, keep grounded and work closely with the coaches and grasp any opportunity I can get.”
Burrell was omitted from the first squad named by Jones in January on the grounds of being “grossly overweight”, so while England were completing their first Grand Slam since 2003 he began shedding the 8kgs demanded by the Australian.
“The beauty of Eddie is that he’s a very honest bloke. If you’re not pulling your weight then he won’t beat around the bush, he will tell you,” said Burrell. “He’s been in constant contact with me – he’s been brilliant with me and my development.
“He’s a fantastic bloke and the way we want to play, we want to be at the highest intensity and taking teams to a place they don’t really like.”
England land in Australia on tomorrow evening and will spend the following week with the kicking coach to get as many as possible. It’s good to add to a team as much you can, so if taking long-range kicks is my role then I’ll work on it and hopefully kick a few goals in the course of the season and see where it takes me.
“The more you can do in a game the better, and the more skills I can juggle will hopefully hold me in good stead.” acclimatising on the Gold Coast before moving to Brisbane for the first Test against the beaten World Cup finalists.
“It’s going to be a very tough challenge, England have won three in 17 games over there. It’s a huge challenge, we’re under no illusions about that, but we’re in a brilliant position,” said Burrell. Coming off the back of the Six Nations and the good performance against Wales, we have some momentum behind us but we need to work hard and play better if we are going to stand a chance of beating Australia.
“We are going to have to work hard, the boys are going to have to dig deep to get some victories over there, but we are quietly confident.”
Jones said: “It’s a great opportunity for Luther, who played really well against Wales. He carried the ball well, defended with aggression and scored an excellent try. We want players who are desperate to play for their country and are willing to make the sacrifices needed to succeed at the highest level.
“Luther’s worked hard at his game since January and we’ve seen a significant improvement in his fitness and conditioning as a result. He thoroughly deserves his place on the tour.
“It was a tough selection call. Ollie Devoto has really impressed during his recent time in the England camp. We wish him a successful tour to South Africa with the Saxons.”