By Katie Field
Who is the man of the moment?
Luther Burrell, the 25-year-old Northampton centre who is hoping to secure a place in England’s matchday squad by playing the game of his life for his club against Saracens at Franklin’s Gardens on Saturday, 25 October (kick-off 3.15pm).
Why is he in the spotlight?
Burrell has been grabbing the headlines all season, shredding defences in the Aviva Premiership and Heineken Cup to set up tries for his team-mates. He credits Northampton’s new assistant coach Alex King with helping him hit top form, although he had already impressed the club’s coaches last spring after joining from Sale in 2012.
He toured with England last summer but didn’t get capped and has now been promoted from the Saxons squad to the Elite squad as injury cover. Burrell spent the first three days this week training with the November Test squad before being named in a group of ten players released back to their clubs to play this weekend.
It doesn’t mean he is out of the frame for a Test cap and a big performance this weekend could just make all the difference.
What’s Burrell got to say about it?
“I am absolutely chuffed to be part of the England squad, which has some of the greatest players in it. It’s something I have always dreamed of. I hope I can put a marker down in this game [v Saracens] and try to push for a starting slot.
“It was fantastic to get a starting spot with Saints towards the end of last season and I built on that over the summer and have been fairly consistent throughout this campaign so far.”
Will he be whooping or weeping this weekend?
Saracens haven’t lost yet in the Premiership this season but Northampton have suffered just the one defeat, which came in controversial circumstances at Gloucester. The Saints haven’t lost at Franklin’s Gardens in any competition this term and should manage a narrow victory against the table-toppers.
Watch Burrell and Northampton take on Saracens at Franklin’s Gardens on Saturday, 25 October, kick-off 3.15pm.