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Burrell boosted by Brown return

Luther Burrell has revealed that England's 'Mr Angry' is intent on releasing a month's worth of pent up frustration when Scotland visit Twickenham on Saturday.

Mike Brown was knocked unconscious against Italy on February 14 and was forced to sit out the defeat by Ireland after suffering a setback in the return to play protocols for concussion.

Now restored to full fitness, Brown returns for England's tilt at reviving their RBS 6 Nations title challenge and Burrell will be only too pleased to hear the fiery full-back barking orders once again.

"It's always good having an angry man behind you, shouting and doing his thing. He's an exciting player," Burrell said.

"He's constantly on us and is a good leader. He's been itching to get himself right and back out there, just to release some of his anger. Off the pitch he's just as angry. He's just always angry."

England missed the comfort blanket Brown provides at full-back as their Grand Slam quest ground to a halt in Dublin in a result that has seen Ireland reinstated as title favourites.

Among the combinations that took a step backwards at the Aviva Stadium was the centre partnership of Burrell and Jonathan Joseph, who disappointed after encouraging outings against Wales and Italy.

The centre duo were hardly alone in underperforming amid an inexplicably subdued England display, but with only five games remaining until the World Cup - three of them warm up matches for the tournament - opportunities to reassert themselves are running out.

Joseph excelled against Wales and Italy, forcing Burrell to take a back seat, and the inside centre's place in the team was under threat until Brad Barritt was ruled out against Scotland by a sprained ankle.

Burrell, who has shaken off a calf problem to retain his place in the starting XV, points out that he has taken a selfless approach as his understanding with Joseph grows.

"It's always nice scoring tries, but it's just as nice getting the applause from Jonathan and others for creating that space and doing the hard graft that some people might not pick up on," he said

"On and off the field we have a good relationship. We get on really well. We had last weekend off but we've still been speaking to each other.

"It's good to have that relationship because we have a group that has got each other's backs and look out for each other.

"It's important that I create that space for JJ to do his thing, which is obviously something we've seen already in this Six Nations. Given a bit of space, he can be electric in that 13 channel.

"And vice versa if I want the ball in my hands early from him, he now knows to do that. It's pretty exciting.

"We've worked hard on it in training and while we're still building in these early stages, we're happy with how each other's roles are."

England's final training session on Wednesday afternoon in preparation for the penultimate round of the Six Nations was full-blooded, releasing the angst that had built up after the no-show against Ireland.

Head coach Stuart Lancaster was forced to blow the whistle early, fearing the consequences as the intensity of the exchanges between the rival XVs at the squad's Pennyhill Park training camp escalated.

"With a session like that it sets us up nicely for the weekend. It's about trying to replicate that intensity of Test match rugby," Burrell said.

"It gets a bit feisty at times which is always good and healthy because that shows people care and want the shirt."


From Belfast Telegraph