Freddie Burns: Gloucester's Davies praises England fly-half

Davies welcomes England call-ups

Gloucester's Nigel Davies says England rookie Freddie Burns has been "instrumental" for his side this term.

Fly-half Burns has scored 240 points so far and his accuracy with the boot has helped his side keep up the chase for a Heineken Cup spot next season.

Having made his international debut against New Zealand last month, the 22-year-old has now been included in England's Six Nations squad.

"He's been instrumental in a lot of what we've done," said Davies.

The Cherry and Whites director of rugby told BBC Points West: "He's had an excellent season.

"We've been efficient and workman-like as a team, and we want to build on that, but to have someone like Freddie in the game orchestrating things and kicking goals is important."

A product of academy system at Kingsholm, Bath-born Burns scored 279 points in 30 appearances during his breakthrough 2011-12 season.

And Davies believes he is still improving: "He played a lot of first-team rugby last year and that exposed him to the type of game he needed to play.

"He learnt a lot from that and what he was able to do this year was put it in to practice."

Burns is one of three Gloucester players included in Stuart Lancaster's 33-man England squad, alongside number eight Ben Morgan and centre Billy Twelvetrees, while team-mates Shaun Knight, Jonny May and Charlie Sharples have been named in the Saxons line-up.

It means Davies could be without six first-team players from February to March, but he insists his squad can cope with the possible absentees.

"We've started a philosophy of squad rotation, giving players opportunities, and I think it's paid dividends," added the Welshman.

"We've seen our performances improve from the end of last season and we've seen individuals develop as well.

"Overall we're delighted. It shows that the players are progressing, which is important, because if they're progressing then so is the team."