Saracens’ hooker George was not on the bench, but will hope to impress to ensure he is named in England’s final World Cup squad for the tournament that begins on Friday, September 18.
Brad Barritt, who has a calf injury but would have been rested for the trip to Paris anyway, and Jonathan Joseph are the only certainties to be involved in the global showpiece on home soil.
Rejecting the suggestion that Burgess’s World Cup inclusion had been ordained since his arrival in union, Lancaster added: ‘The message to all the players is, “Everyone’s going to have to earn the right to get in”.
Slade has also forced himself into late contention alongside Burgess but Lancaster said: ‘For that to happen, someone like Luther has to miss out and I think he might have something to say about that.
Both players acquitted themselves well at Twickenham, Burgess proving destructive in defence and Slade bringing a spark of creativity, but the former now seems the more likely pick for England 2015.
“When guys have been out a long time they find it hard to make their way back, if you haven’t played for four or five months so he’s got to find his form and get himself physically back in that position”. “It’s frustrating not to have as much involvement as you’d like but that is the game of rugby”.
“It’ll be all on for kick-off against Fiji, fast and furious, and you don’t want to be caught cold”.
When Johnson helped lift the Webb Ellis Cup 12 years ago he had fellow experienced heads all around him – the likes of Jason Robinson, Mike Tindall, Phil Vickery, Lawrence Dallaglio, Will Greenwood, Dawson and Jonny Wilkinson helping to form a tight-knit group.
But Johnson believes this is no reason for fans to start pushing the panic buttons just yet.
Lancaster has demanded a big performance from Burrell, who will play himself into the final 31-man squad if he delivers at the Stade de France in the second of England’s three warm-up games, while outsider Twelvetrees has been given another chance off the bench.
According to Stuart Lancaster, who should have a better idea than most, the answer is a conclusive “no”.
The Harlequin is one of 14 changes to the starting-line up, with try-scorer Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby) retained from the team that beat France 19-14 in the QBE worldwide at Twickenham Stadium last Saturday.