Sam Burgess included in England’s Rugby World Cup training squad
Stuart Lancaster names seven uncapped players in 50-man group as door is slammed shut on Steffon Armitage and Nick Abendanon
Sam Burgess is one of eight Bath Rugby players named in England’s 50-man training squad for the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
The versatile former rugby league star, who played in the England Saxons win over Ireland Wolfhounds in January, has made a big impression since making his rugby union debut six months ago and has looked at home as a flanker in recent weeks after starting out at centre.
We are excited to name this extended squad, which allows us to look at a wide group of players who have been pushing hard for selection in training with us or playing well for their clubs this season.
He is joined in the extended squad by team-mates George Ford, Anthony Watson and Jonathan Joseph – who were all integral to the Red Rose’s RBS 6 Nations campaign earlier this year – with Dave Attwood, David Wilson and Rob Webber also included.
As expected, England head coach Stuart Lancaster has not selected France-based duo Steffon Armitage or Nick Abendanon despite a clamour to find a way to include the former and current European player of the year, but has named seven uncapped players at senior level.
“We are excited to name this extended squad, which allows us to look at a wide group of players who have been pushing hard for selection in training with us or playing well for their clubs this season,” Lancaster said.
Joining Burgess are promising 20-year-old Saracens lock Maro Itoje, Exeter Chiefs versatile duo Luke Cowan-Dickie and Henry Slade, Wasps centre Elliot Daly – all of whom played for the Saxons in January – as well as Northampton Saints back-row forward Calum Clark and versatile Leicester Tigers forward Ed Slater, who captained an England side against the Crusaders in New Zealand last summer.
There are also recalls for Saracens wingers Chris Ashton and David Strettle, who have both been in try-scoring form for the Aviva Premiership semi-finalists this season, but Wasps speedster Christian Wade has failed to make the cut, although Lancaster has not ruled him out of contention for the final cut.
Despite missing much of the season through injury, forwards Joe Launchbury, David Wilson and Ben Morgan are among the injured players given the chance to make the cut for the final 31-man squad to be announced by the end of August.
“It’s great to be able to include Alex Corbisiero, Joe Launchbury, Ben Morgan, Ed Slater and David Wilson,” Lancaster added.
“They all missed the Six Nations because of injury and are close to returning to play or have recently begun playing again.
“There are a lot of experienced internationals within the squad with the likes of Chris Ashton and David Strettle, who are in great form for Saracens, coming back.
“It’s also good to have young players like Luke Cowan-Dickie, Elliot Daly, Maro Itoje and Henry Slade in there.
“They have come through our player development pathway and had great seasons for their clubs.
“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.”
After a bit-part role in the RBS 6 Nations earlier this year, Sale Sharks’ Danny Cipriani also makes the cut and the outside-half will be among a number of players in the squad to be involved in the match against the Barbarians at Twickenham on Sunday 31 May.
“I am looking forward to being part of the England World Cup training squad,” Cipriani said.
“To be given the chance to live out my dream is very exciting.
“Thanks must go to Sale Sharks for the great support the fans have given me and my team mates throughout the season.”
The full training squad will meet up at Pennyhill Park on Monday 22 June ahead of matches against France home and away in August and Ireland at Twickenham at the beginning of September.
England Rugby World Cup training squad (50):
Forwards (27): Dave Attwood (Bath Rugby), Kieran Brookes (Newcastle Falcons), Sam Burgess (Bath Rugby), Calum Clark (Northampton Saints), Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers), Alex Corbisiero (Northampton Saints), Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs), Nick Easter (Harlequins), Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints), James Haskell (Wasps), Maro Itoje (Saracens), George Kruis (Saracens), Matt Kvesic (Gloucester Rugby), Joe Launchbury (Wasps), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints), Joe Marler (Harlequins), Ben Morgan (Gloucester Rugby), Matt Mullan (Wasps), Geoff Parling (Leicester Tigers), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins), Ed Slater (Leicester Tigers), Billy Vunipola (Saracens), Mako Vunipola (Saracens), Rob Webber (Bath Rugby), David Wilson (Bath Rugby), Tom Wood (Northampton Saints), Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers)
Backs (23): Chris Ashton (Saracens), Brad Barritt (Saracens), Mike Brown (Harlequins), Luther Burrell (Northampton Saints), Danny Care (Harlequins), Danny Cipriani (Sale Sharks), Elliot Daly (Wasps), Lee Dickson (Northampton Saints), Kyle Eastmond (Bath Rugby), Owen Farrell (Saracens), George Ford (Bath Rugby), Alex Goode (Saracens), Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby), Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby), Stephen Myler (Northampton Saints), Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs), Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs), David Strettle (Saracens), Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester Rugby), Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby), Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens), Marland Yarde (Harlequins), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers).
England World Cup warm-up fixtures:
31 May – England XV vs Barbarians, Twickenham, 15:00 BST
15 August – England vs France, Twickenham, 20:00 BST
22 August – France vs England, Stade de France, 20:00 BST
5 September – England vs Ireland, Twickenham, 14:30 BST