sport

Burns has 'learned lessons'

Freddie Burns wants to prove he has learned the lessons of a troubled season when he lines up at fly-half for England against New Zealand.

The Gloucester stand-off has struggled to find form for much of the campaign and his imminent transfer to Leicester caused even more anguish when it was made public in the media.

But Burns' poor form has not deterred England head coach Stuart Lancaster from selecting him ahead of a revitalised Danny Cipriani for the first Test at Eden Park on Saturday morning.

"All I can take from this season is there are 101 things I would do differently, looking back," he said. "I was 23, I'm still only 24 now.

"I'll learn from it to make sure I'm a better player and a better person. If I find myself in that situation again, then I'd like to think I would handle it slightly differently.

"The biggest thing I'd do differently is not talk to the media. I'd have just probably kept it to myself.

"By going out in front of the media and talking, it almost brought more pressure on me. I felt like it did.

"I felt like it turned more eyes on to me really. It then seemed to raise more questions than answer them.

"The main thing I want to take from what has been a difficult year is the fact that I live and learn and get better and hopefully toughen up.

"Learning how to deal with certain situations is one of the big points coming from a tough year.

"Now it's a case of being in a different set-up with England. They want me to play differently to how we play at clubs and I say it's a big opportunity for me.

"England are slightly different to Gloucester but it suits me. I'm happy with the way England play, I'm happy controlling that and I'm happy with how I've trained over the past couple of weeks.

"Being with England is slightly different. I wouldn't say it's better or worse, but it's an environment I'm happy with."

New Zealand are enormous odds-on favourites to win Saturday's first Test but Burns, who won the first of his three caps in the record 38-21 win over the All Blacks at Twickenham in 2012, is not overawed by the challenge that lies ahead.

"The greater challenge, the greater the opportunity," he said. "I'm really excited to get out there and we have a good bunch of boys in the team. We've trained exceptionally well and we're ready for Saturday.

"To play the All Blacks over here at Eden Park is something that you can't let daunt you.

"You've just got to get excited about it and go out there and have a go.

"We've been in camp for two weeks now already so are champing at the bit to get out there and really get stuck in."