Lancaster throws down gauntlet to Burrell
Published 18/08/2015 | 02:30
Stuart Lancaster has challenged Luther Burrell to respond to the challenge laid down by Sam Burgess and Henry Slade as the battle for midfield places intensifies ahead of England's second World Cup warm-up match against France in Paris on Saturday.
Burrell is poised to be handed a starting place in the side to face France alongside Bath team-mate Jonathan Joseph as Lancaster makes changes after the 19-14 victory at Twickenham last Saturday.
The major plus-point from the opening warm-up game was the performances of Burgess and Slade, with the former rugby league star's physical prowess and directness complementing the Exeter man's fleetness of foot and distribution.
Lancaster - who admitted that the midfield conundrum was the most taxing of all his selection headaches - suggested that the onus was now on Burrell to respond with a big performance, with Brad Barritt likely to miss the game with a calf injury.
"Certainly the two guys pushing late, Burgess and Slade, has put the pressure on, in terms of the other players, and it will be interesting to see how they respond now," said Lancaster, who will inform the players of his selection this morning .
"He (Burrell) played in the Six Nations throughout at 12, with JJ (Joseph) at 13, and we scored 18 tries which I think is more tries than any team scored since 2003. So he was a big part of that team.
"But it will be interesting to see how he goes because there will be a spotlight on him and there will be pressure on him, but you need players who can deal with pressure and deliver on the day as the two guys did last week."