England centre Luther Burrell has denied he is feeling the heat ahead of his latest audition for a place in head coach Stuart Lancaster’s Rugby World Cup squad.
Lancaster has claimed the “spotlight” will be on Burrell after naming the Northampton centre in his starting XV for England’s World Cup warm-up clash against France in Paris tomorrow.
Burrell is one of six centres vying for an expected four places in Lancaster’s 31-man squad. That group contains rugby league convert Sam Burgess and Exeter’s Henry Slade, who both made their debuts in England’s 19-14 victory over Les Bleus at Twickenham on Saturday.
“I wouldn’t say there is extra pressure,” said Burrell. “For me, it’s about controlling what I can control and that’s performing well.
“The usual pressure is going to be there. It’s a big Test match. The last thing I need is added pressure. Burgess and Slade coming through is competition, it’s healthy.”
France head coach Philippe Saint-Andre has made 12 changes to his side for clash, including a return for Mathieu Bastareaud and Wesley Fofana at centre.