England coach Stuart Lancaster was impressed with the performance of Sam Burgess despite the Bath centre being yellow carded on his international debut against France to leave his World Cup hopes hanging in the balance. The rugby league convert was sin-binned in the first half for obstructing a quick tapped penalty amid an otherwise combative display.
The moment of ill-discipline during the 19-14 win could yet come back to haunt Burgess, and fellow new cap Calum Clark who also saw yellow, with competitions for places in the final 31-man squad, particularly in the centre, the most competitive. Otherwise, Burgess produced a performance with typical physicality, while he also provided a threat with the ball in hand.
Jonathan Joseph, Brad Barritt and Luther Burrell are all expected to feature in the second warm-up game against the French in Paris but speculation is likely to intensify around Burgess, with Exeter's Henry Slade now in contention after an outstanding international bow. Lancaster admitted that while his indiscretions were not ideal, they did not work to overshadow his debut.
"I thought he was good," Lancaster said after after the win at Twickenham. "Obviously it was disappointing to get in the bin. But his decision making of when to pass and carry was good.
"I thought his defensive physicality, which we hoped would be what he would bring, he brought. He translated what we had seen in training into this game, which is hard to do on your first cap, on a big occasion but he did well.
"He is prepared to get off the line and hit people. Your looking at the balance in your back line and when you lose someone like Manu [Tuilagi] you're looking for that blend in your backline. He provides that balance, he runs good lines but it is a competitive position."
The England coach added: "I am not in any need to make any decisions I have got a lot of guys on the sidelines not involved in this game so the key is to get selection right next week and create some more opportunities.
"Experience tells me that the answers will come in the next two weeks. I was delighted with the two centres, Alex Goode did well, the two wingers looked sharp."