Mike Catt has urged Luther Burrell to solve England’s World Cup “centre dilemma” when England face France in Paris today.
The midfield is proving the greatest headache for the Red Rose management as they attempt to whittle down their options in the position from six to the four slots available in the 31-man squad for the global showpiece on home soil.
Huddersfield-born Burrell will reprise his RBS 6 Nations axis with Jonathan Joseph amid a demand from head coach Stuart Lancaster that he produce a “big performance” to see off his competition. Joseph and Brad Barritt are guaranteed their World Cup places and Sam Burgess looks set to be included, leaving Burrell, Henry Slade and Billy Twelvetrees to fill the final slot.
Burrell has been given his audition at the Stade de France where he will lock horns with France’s Wesley Fofana and Mathieu Bastareaud and Catt wants to see the powerful Northampton Saint seize the chance.
“We’re looking for some good stuff from Luther – we just want Luther to be Luther,” said Catt.
“No one understands the centre dilemma better than Luther.
“The dilemma is simple – six into four won’t go, or maybe seven (fly-half Owen Farrell) into four won’t go.
“When you have the likes of Henry Slade and Sam Burgess playing so well on their debuts, it definitely heightens the decision to be made.
“And it’s up to us to make the right decision and get a good balance, both at centre and throughout the rest of the team.
“Luther had a very good Six Nations and played exceptionally well alongside Joseph.
“We scored some very good tries in that tournament and, hopefully, they can rekindle the fire that they had in that competition.
“It’s their opportunity to go and shine. It’s tough coming to France and playing against the likes of Fofana and Bastareaud, but they’ve played against them before.”