Burrell's buzzing as he gets back in the Saints mix

Any Saints supporters concerned about the impact England's tour of Australia had on Luther Burrell's morale need not worry.

Friday, 12th August 2016, 7:00 am
Luther Burrell is looking forward to the start of Saints' pre-season campaign (picture: Sharon Lucey)

Because although the centre got limited game time and was actually replaced after just half an hour of the second Test, he seemed happier than ever as he stood on the lush grass at Stowe School conducting interviews ahead of the start of the pre-season campaign.

“Buzzing” is the word Burrell uses to sum up his feelings as he looks ahead to his fifth season as a Saint.

And it is clear that he has looked at the series down under, which England won 3-0 in superb fashion, as a glass half full rather than a glass half empty.

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Even his omission from England’s provisional elite player squad can’t dampen the affable 28-year-old’s spirits as he simply focuses on the positives, which revolve around another title tilt at Franklin’s Gardens.

“It’s brilliant to be back,” said Burrell, who, along with the likes of Dylan Hartley, George North and Louis Picamoles, was helping to coach the next generation in Saints’ rugby academy at Stowe.

“The summer’s been brilliant and to be in Australia touring with the team was a memorable occasion for me and the other lads who were involved.

“I’ve had five weeks off to get my rest in and really shut off from the past 12 months.

“It’s been brilliant to get back in the mix and I’m really excited about the upcoming season now.”

On the tour of Australia, he added: “I’d never been to Australia before so that was great and to be part of a squad that beat Australia 3-0 was class.

“Working with those coaches and being around those lads gives you that drive and I just want to step up now.

“The whole three Tests were magnificent and the lads bounced back brilliantly in the second Test because they were put under massive pressure and that was going to be the gamechanger.

“I thought the lads did fantastic and on a personal level, I was in and around the team and I was learning a lot.

“I worked closely with Eddie (Jones) and Paul Gustard and they’ve given me good feedback from the tour.

“I had a chat with Eddie Jones a couple of weeks ago and it’s all moving in the right direction.

“No one’s ever going to be the finished article so I know what I need to do to keep knocking on that England door.

“I’m just buzzing and I can’t wait to get back out there for the Saints.”

Burrell and the rest of the Saints first team are now in France, preparing for their opening pre-season game, against Castres in Camares on Saturday.

The Vaquerin Challenge match will be the first of four friendlies for Jim Mallinder’s men, with matches against Cornish Pirates, Rotherham Titans and Ulster to follow before the Aviva Premiership opener against Bath at the Gardens on September 3.

And Burrell said: “I’m really happy to be in France with the lads.

“We’re playing Castres on Saturday and it’s really exciting to be regrouping with the boys and the coaching staff and implementing what this season is going to be about. It’s going to be an exciting one.”