Lancaster standing by Farrell

  • Last Updated: November 27 2012, 8:41 GMT

Stuart Lancaster has indicated that Owen Farrell's "credit in the bank" will earn him the England number 10 jersey against New Zealand, ahead of the Aviva Premiership's form fly-half.

Owen Farrell: Lancaster has 'no problem' with the Saracens star

Gloucester's Freddie Burns has joined the squad in place of the injured Toby Flood and he is set to be included in England's 23-man match-day squad for the first time.

Burns is the leading point-scorer in the Premiership with 143 from eight starts and he is in prime touch, having guided Gloucester to a 29-3 win against Sale on Saturday.

There is a growing clamour for Burns' inclusion in a bid to sharpen England's attacking edge and Farrell's time at fly-half has been limited this season.

But Lancaster's faith in the 21-year-old Saracen was forged during the Six Nations, when he kicked important goals and played at fly-half in the victories over France in Paris and Ireland at Twickenham.

Flood reclaimed the shirt on England's summer tour of South Africa but he is now sidelined by a toe ligament injury, suffered in last weekend's 16-15 defeat to the Springboks.

Lancaster is an admirer of Farrell's "warrior spirit" and the England management are confident he has the potential to be more creative than Saracens' game-plan demands.

"Owen has a lot of credit in the bank from what he achieved for us in the Six Nations," Lancaster said.

"He had a long hard season and I don't think his form drifted off as dramatically as people made out. I know he has been a bit frustrated, he had a slow start to the season because of an injury.

"He has trained well. He looked comfortable and accomplished when he came on (against South Africa). I have no problem with Owen whatsover.

"I am disappointed for Toby but I'm excited to get Freddie in the squad, to have a player coming in who is playing well and confident.

"I am not sitting here worried about Freddie coming in. He is a quality player. I want more strength and depth in every position and he gives us that. It is a great opportunity for him."

Lancaster will confirm his starting line-up to face the All Blacks on Thursday morning.

Burns has thrived playing alongside Billy Twelvetrees, who is sure to be in England's Six Nations plans, and only on Saturday he was named the Aviva Premiership player of the month for October.

The 22-year-old kicked 19 points in the win against Sale and Gloucester director of rugby Nigel Davies believes he is ready for the step up to Test rugby.

"Freddie is putting us in the right areas and then he's turning the opportunities into points. I really think he's someone who's on top of his game at the moment," Davies said.

"I think he's playing superbly well. I think he's got everything an international outside-half needs.

"I think what we've seen from him this season is a maturity that perhaps wasn't there in the past but his game management has been excellent."


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