"Freddie Burns & Sam Burgess" - 10 England Players Who NEVER Played in the Six Nations - Ruck

“Freddie Burns & Sam Burgess” – 10 England Players Who NEVER Played in the Six Nations

For a competition to come with the tagline of ‘Rugby’s Greatest Championship’, the Six Nations is certainly a definitive career goal for players from the sextet of competing countries. The modern Six Nations competition that we see every February and March, dates back to the turn of the Millennium, when Italy were added to expand the Five Nations, in the year 2000.

Throughout the past 24 iterations of the competition, countless iconic England players have graced the Championships to win a total of seven titles, and the two Grand Slams of 2003 and 2016. Sir Clive Woodward’s men first achieved the undefeated accolade, on the run up to being crowned World Champions at the following Autumn’s Rugby World Cup. Then 13 years later, Eddie Jones turned around the England side’s 2015 low-point, to win the Grand Slam in his first crack at the competition.

However amongst the on-fields stars of England’s Six Nations campaigns, there have been numerous England players to never participate in the competition. Despite gaining test match caps for the country in the likes of Summer Tours, Autumn Internationals and Rugby World Cups, these 10 players never achieved on-field minutes in the annual battles between the Northern Hemisphere’s tier one nations.

Here are 10 former England internationals who never played in the Six Nations Championship.

1. Freddie Burns (5 England Caps)

Freddie Burns of Bath Rugby during the Anglo Welsh Cup Final Match between Bath Rugby and Exeter Chiefs at Kingsholm Stadium, Gloucester, Gloucestershire on March 30. – PHOTO: Tom Sandberg/PPAUK

Had Freddie Burns been a star of a different era, then the talented fly half could well have been a mainstay in the England number 10 jersey. Burns made his England debut against the All Blacks in 2012, however, the former Bath, Gloucester and Leicester Tigers man had fierce positional rivals during his time on the test match scene. With the likes of Toby Flood, Owen Farrell and George Ford competing for the fly half spot, Burns’ England run was a sporadic one, that ended in 2014.

Despite being a mainstay in the Premiership for eleven seasons, Burns never broke onto the Six Nations stage. Burns ended his career in England with that iconic drop goal, after replacing an injured George Ford to win Leicester the 2021/22 Premiership title. The 33-year-old is Currently plying his trade in Japan with the Toyota Industries Shuttles, following a brief run in New Zealand with the Highlanders.

2. Christian Wade (1 England Cap)

Christian Wade of Racing 92 during the Investec Champions Cup Match between Bath Rugby and Racing 92 at the Recreation Ground on 7 January 2024. Photo: Tom Sandberg/PPAUK

Christian Wade’s England future looked scorchingly hot back in 2012/13, as the Wasps wing had garnered a fearsome reputation as one of the Premiership’s top finishers, and was amongst the fastest players in the English top flight. 18 tries in the 2012/13 Premiership season earned him both the Player’s Player and Young Player Awards, with his talents recognised by the Rugby Players Association.

Wade made his test match debut on the 2013 Summer Tour to Argentina, and the wing then capped this off with a call up for the 2013 British & Irish Lions Tour to Australia. However, a series of unfortunate injuries soon followed, and with Chris Ashton in full flight, Wade was moved down the ranks with emerging talents Jonny May and Jack Nowell making their England break-outs. Wade quit rugby in 2019 to play American football in the NFL, and after a three year stint with the Buffalo Bills made his return to the sport in 2022, when he signed for Racing 92.

3. Kyle Eastmond (6 England Caps)

The dual-code rugby-footballer began his professional sporting career in rugby league, where he broke onto the scene at St. Helens. In 2011, Kyle Eastmond switched to rugby union, and quickly established himself as a potential England candidate with impressive performances at Bath. In 2013, Eastmond was called-up by Stuart Lancaster, and like Wade, made his England debut against Argentina in that year’s Summer Tour.

He soon progressed into a starting role, with Billy Twelvetrees called up for the 2013 British & Irish Lions, there was a vacancy in the England midfield. Eastmond scored in the following test match win against Los Pumas, yet was unable to follow up on this momentum once Lancaster’s side had returned to the Northern Hemisphere. Eastmond was unable to gain consistent England traction throughout his following stints at Wasps and Leicester Tigers, and returned to rugby league in 2022, as he agreed a move to Leeds Rhinos.