Sam Burgess makes the England squad: Experienced players miss out on places
Cross-code star Sam Burgess has made Stuart Lancaster’s final 31-man World Cup squad while Luther Burrell and Danny Cipriani have had their World Cup dreams crushed.
Lancaster ended months of speculation on Thursday by confirming his final group for the World Cup next month.
Less than a year since crossing codes Sam Burgess has edged into the England squad at the expense of the more experienced Burrell.
The centre was released from the team, which is surprising considering he started in all five of England’s Six Nations games earlier this year.
The selection of Gloucester’s Ben Morgan in front of Nick Easter has also sparked discussion given that he only recently returned to action following eight months on the sidelines with a broken leg.
There is also no place for utility back Danny Cipriani, who impressed during his 17-minute cameo against the French last week in which he scored a superb try.
Lancaster has picked George Ford and Owen Farrell as his preferred fly-halves, with versatile back Henry Slade providing cover. Mike Brown and Alex Goode also remain the preferred full-back pair.
And the England head coach spoke in high spirits, insisting the players dropped could still have a vital part to play at next month’s World Cup.
“It’s really positive that we have such depth and options to choose from,” revealed Lancaster.
“Selection wasn’t easy, and it is tough to leave anyone out but it’s important to stress that the players not in this group are still part of our wider squad and could come in at any point.
“After 10 weeks in camp we have made our final selection of players, and we believe we have a great group to take us into the tournament. With three weeks to go before we play Fiji we believe we are in good shape as we head into next Saturday’s game against Ireland.
“As the excitement builds around the tournament, we are looking forward to the country getting behind England and we know this group of players will represent the nation with pride.”
England still has to take on Ireland in their final warm-up game on September 5th, before hosting Fiji in the World Cup opener at Twickenham on September 18th.
England World Cup squad
Forwards: Kieran Brookes, Dan Cole, Joe Marler, Mako Vunipola, David Wilson, Jamie George, Rob Webber, Tom Youngs, George Kruis, Joe Launchbury, Courtney Lawes, Geoff Parling, James Haskell, Ben Morgan, Chris Robshaw (c), Billy Vunipola, Tom Wood.
Backs: Danny Care, Richard Wigglesworth, Ben Youngs, Owen Farrell, George Ford, Brad Barritt, Sam Burgess, Jonathan Joseph, Henry Slade, Mike Brown, Alex Goode, Jonny May, Jack Nowell, Anthony Watson.