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LONDON – Stuart Lancaster has selected his 50-man training squad naming just five uncapped players including Sam Burgess and Maro Itoje however there still remains no room for Steffon Armitage.
Talk has dominated sports headlines over the past fortnight about whether Steffon Armitage would be selected despite playing in Toulon and the RFU’s strong stance on overseas-based players but the squad selected was a clear definitive answer on the path which the RFU would follow.
Making their stance even clearer is the fact they’ve refused to invoke an exceptional circumstances clause for Toulon flanker and European Player of the Year Nick Abendanon.
Sam Burgess’ inclusion isn’t particularly surprising since he’s moved to the back row after initially starting Rugby Union in the centres.
England head coach Lancaster suggested that he was determined to blend experience with exciting youth and that many of the selections were warranted on form.
“There are a lot of experienced internationals within the squad with the likes of Chris Ashton and David Strettle, who are in great form, returning and it’s also good to have young players like Luke Cowan-Dickie, Elliot Daly, Maro Itoje and Henry Slade in there who have come through our player development pathway and had great seasons for their clubs”, he said.
“Ben Foden, Joe Simpson and Tom Croft have not been included at this stage due to ongoing rehabilitation from injury but will hopefully come into consideration nearer the tournament”.
“A number of this 50-man squad, such as Joe Launchbury, Elliot Daly, Danny Cipriani and Marland Yarde will be involved in the England XV side playing the Barbarians on May 31 following the Premiership semi-finals. There will also be opportunities for the likes of Dave Ewers and Christian Wade who just missed out on the initial selection but could come back in further down the line.”
England Rugby World Cup training squad:
Chris Ashton (Saracens), Dave Attwood (Bath), Brad Barritt (Saracens), Kieran Brookes (Newcastle Falcons), Mike Brown (Harlequins), Luther Burrell (Northampton Saints), Sam Burgess (Bath), Danny Care (Harlequins), Danny Cipriani (Sale Sharks), Calum Clark (Northampton Saints), Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers), Alex Corbisiero (Northampton Saints), Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs), Elliot Daly (Wasps), Lee Dickson (Northampton Saints), Kyle Eastmond (Bath), Nick Easter (Harlequins), Owen Farrell (Saracens), George Ford (Bath), Alex Goode (Saracens), Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints), James Haskell (Wasps), Maro Itoje (Saracens), Jonathan Joseph (Bath), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints), Joe Launchbury (Wasps), George Kruis (Saracens), Matt Kvesic (Gloucester), Joe Marler (Harlequins), Jonny May (Gloucester), Stephen Myler (Northampton Saints), Ben Morgan (Gloucester), Matt Mullan (Wasps), Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs), Geoff Parling (Leicester Tigers), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins), Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs), Ed Slater (Leicester Tigers), David Strettle (Saracens), Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester), Mako Vunipola (Saracens), Billy Vunipola (Saracens), Anthony Watson (Bath), Rob Webber (Bath), Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens), David Wilson (Bath), Tom Wood (Northampton Saints), Marland Yarde (Harlequins), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers), Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers).