Rugby World Cup 2015: England trim squad for Denver camp
Stephen Myler and Elliot Daly among players returning to their clubs as the Red Rose fly to Colorado for high altitude training
Stuart Lancaster has cut England’s Rugby World Cup squad by five ahead of their trip to Colorado this weekend.
After three weeks of training at their Pennyhill Park base, the Red Rose hopefuls will spend two weeks in Glendale near Denver with a focus on high altitude training.
Promising youngsters Elliot Daly and Maro Itoje have been sent back to their Aviva Premiership clubs, along with Northampton Saints outside-half Stephen Myler and Leicester Tigers lock Ed Slater.
I have spoken to all the players to explain that things can change very quickly and they can come back in at any point.
All four will be on standby in the event of injuries, while Harlequins flanker Nick Easter will return to his club for treatment on a back problem, but will link up with the England squad when they return to Pennyhill Park on 2 August.
Head coach Lancaster admits that competition for places, particularly at outside-half and lock, is a factor in his decision to release the players.
“Elliot and Maro have fitted in and trained well and it’s been great for them to be in this environment,” Lancaster said.
“They are both young players who have bright futures. They have made a great impression and I am sure other opportunities will come for both of them further down the line.
“Steve and Ed, likewise, have contributed greatly. Ed has done well to recover from his knee injury having missed the majority last season. However, there is a lot of competition in the second row.
“Steve, who is in another really competitive position, has only recently been able to take a full part in training having injured his knee towards the end of last season.
“But he is getting up to speed now and I am sure he would be ready to come back in should the opportunity arise.
“I have spoken to all the players to explain that things can change very quickly and they can come back in at any point.”
The decision to release Myler will be a welcome boost to Sale Sharks outside-half Danny Cipriani, who hopes to make the final 31-man squad despite being arrested for alleged drink driving after England’s win over the Barbarians at Twickenham at the end of May.
Bath Rugby winger Semesa Rokoduguni is also retained after he joined the squad following David Strettle’s decision to withdraw as he moves from Saracens to Clermont Auvergne this summer.
But Lancaster has refused to close the door to a number of players who missed the end of the season through injury.
“Nick will stay for treatment on his back rather than risk aggravating it further with travel,” Lancaster added.
“We look forward to him rejoining the squad in August when we will review the squad and also consider those who have been unable to begin the camp after suffering injuries at the end of last season.
“The players have worked very hard for the past three weeks and there is a really good feel about the group.
“Denver is the next stage in our training, a chance to develop further in a different environment.”
England will take on Ireland at Twickenham in August as well as home and away warm-up matches against France in the final weeks of their Rugby World Cup preparations.
England training squad for Denver (45):
Forwards (24): Dave Attwood (Bath Rugby), Kieran Brookes (Northampton Saints), Sam Burgess (Bath Rugby), Calum Clark (Northampton Saints), Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers), Alex Corbisiero (Northampton Saints), Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs), Jamie George (Saracens), James Haskell (Wasps), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints), Joe Launchbury (Wasps), George Kruis (Saracens), Matt Kvesic (Gloucester Rugby), Joe Marler (Harlequins), Ben Morgan (Gloucester Rugby), Matt Mullan (Wasps), Geoff Parling (Exeter Chiefs), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins), Mako Vunipola (Saracens), Billy Vunipola (Saracens), Rob Webber (Bath Rugby), David Wilson (Bath Rugby), Tom Wood (Northampton Saints), Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers).
Backs (21): Chris Ashton (Saracens), Brad Barritt (Saracens), Mike Brown (Harlequins), Luther Burrell (Northampton Saints), Danny Care (Harlequins), Danny Cipriani (Sale Sharks), 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), Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs), Semesa Rokoduguni (Bath Rugby), Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs), Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester Rugby), Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby), Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens), Marland Yarde (Harlequins), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers).