CAMBRIDGE University graduate Fred Burdon is proving a real find for Championship outfit Doncaster Knights.
The 22 year-old centre formed an impressive pairing with Olly Goss in Saturday’s 41-24 home win over Esher - a result which secured Knights a spot in the Promotion Play-Offs, which start at the end of next month, with four games to spare.
“Olly and I are similar players,” he told The Star. “He knows the situations that I like to be in, as I do with him, and the partnership is going well so far.”
With Knights doing well Burdon has no regrets at throwing in his lot with Brett Davey’s side.
“I’ve been here about four months and it’s been really good,” he said. “I enjoy playing the sort of rugby that Doncaster play.
“You get plenty of ball in hand and although we play to a structure we’ve still got the freedom to express ourselves. But that all comes from the work done by the forwards.”
Burdon stepped in at fly-half for a couple of games late last year when Tom Luke was out injured, but though he did quite well he prefers playing centre.
“At centre you can just focus on your own game whereas at fly-half you have got to look at the bigger picture,” he said.
“Having played there I now have a better idea of what the fly-half is wanting from the players outside him.”
No sooner was Luke back in the side than he was ruled out again following a recurrence of the shoulder injury he had been carrying for a while and had surgery last Monday.
“It’s a blow losing Tom for the rest of the season,” said Burdon. “He’s a really experienced player and he’s been awesome for us this season.
“But Mikey Whitehead came in on Saturday after three months out with a hand injury and he’s also a very experienced player.
“Once he’d played himself in he started making breaks and he was really good.”
Whitehead wasn’t the only player a bit ring rusty at times in the first half.
“It was our first game for three weeks so defensively I don’t think we were where we wanted to be be - especially in the first half - but our attacking play was really pleasing,” said Burdon.
Burdon says Knights are expecting a tougher test than that provided by Esher in Saturday’s game against London Welsh at Old Deer Park.
“They beat us at home earlier in the season before I joined the club and they are obviously a good side to be where they are in the table,” he said.
The trip to the capital is the first of four consecutive games against other top-eight sides.
“They are all teams that we could face in the play-offs so it would be nice to claim a few scalps and give ourselves some momentum,” said Burdon.
“We want to send out a message that we are going to be very tough to beat in the play-offs, especially at Castle Park.”