Ashton recalled as England name Rugby World Cup training squad
England head coach Stuart Lancaster has announced his 50-man training squad for the upcoming 2015 Rugby World Cup this Autumn, that takes place from September 18th to October 31st.
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) May 20, 2015
The tournament hosts are 7/2 second-favourites with Coral to win their second ever Webb Ellis Cup, and first in the northern hemisphere, in the eighth edition of the competition.
All the talk in the build-up to the announcement was about the decision to not call up Samoa-born Leicester Tigers star Manu Tuilagi, after an assault charge on a police officer.
But, in more positive light, Chris Ashton, who was once the victim of a barrage of vicious punches by Tuilagi, has been recalled to the side following his return to form in the Premiership for Saracens. His clubmate David Strettle has also returned to the international set-up.
Ashton was joint-top try scorer at the last World Cup, but missed out on the last two Six Nations, and has gained just two caps in the last year.
French-based stars Nick Abendanon and Steffon Armitage, meanwhile, have been left out of the squad, which will meet up at Pennyhill Park on Monday June 22nd.
On his selections, Lancaster said: “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.
“It’s great to be able to include Alex Corbisiero, Joe Launchbury, Ben Morgan, Ed Slater and David Wilson. 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.
“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 31st following the Aviva 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 face four warm-up matches against the Barbarians, France in a double header and then Ireland, before heading to the finals. They have been placed in Pool A, along with Fiji, Wales, Australia and Uruguay, who they play in that order, and are 6/5 favourites to top the group.
England 50-man training squad for 2015 World Cup in alphabetical order:
Chris Ashton (Saracens)
Dave Attwood (Bath Rugby)
Brad Barritt (Saracens)
Kieran Brookes (Newcastle Falcons)
Mike Brown (Harlequins)
Luther Burrell (Northampton Saints)
Sam Burgess (Bath Rugby)
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 Rugby)
Nick Easter (Harlequins)
Owen Farrell (Saracens)
George Ford (Bath Rugby)
Alex Goode (Saracens)
Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints)
James Haskell (Wasps)
Maro Itoje (Saracens)
Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby)
George Kruis (Saracens)
Matt Kvesic (Gloucester Rugby)
Joe Launchbury (Wasps)
Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints)
Joe Marler (Harlequins)
Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby)
Stephen Myler (Northampton Saints)
Ben Morgan (Gloucester Rugby)
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 Rugby)
Billy Vunipola (Saracens)
Mako Vunipola (Saracens)
Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby)
Rob Webber (Bath Rugby)
Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens)
David Wilson (Bath Rugby)
Tom Wood (Northampton Saints)
Marland Yarde (Harlequins)
Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)
Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers)
Betting tip: England win World Cup @ 7/2