Burgess in, Cipriani out of England’s 31-man Rugby World Cup squad
A tense wait for England players and rugby journalists finally ended as head coach Stuart Lancaster announced his 31-man squad selection to go to the Rugby World Cup in the hope for glory on home soil.
High profile men in question were Danny Cipriani and Sam Burgess. The latter made the cut, but the former was left out to the surprise of many.
Rugby League convert Burgess has only played for England once against France this August. His position in the squad has meant Luther Burrell, a regular in the English side, lost his place against the new boy.
Joining Burgess will be Exeter’s Henry Slade, having played well in the Premiership, with the duo proving themselves against France.
Along with Burgess and Slade, Saracens’ Brad Barritt and Bath Rugby’s Jonathan Joseph will be taking the final two spots as centre.
After only playing 40 minutes of rugby since breaking his leg, Ben Morgan has been named in the back row, meanwhile.
Household name Cipriani is absent from the team list, with Owen Farrell and George Ford chosen instead as the two fly halves. Lancaster said that Cipriani was not strong enough in the position, despite playing well after coming off the bench against France in the 25-20 defeat, but clearly it was not enough.
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) August 27, 2015
Speaking at the press conference, Lancaster said: “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.
“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.”
Hosts England are 7/2 to be Rugby World Cup winners, but that could all change with some inexperienced players being announced in the squad.
England 2015 Rugby World Cup squad:
Props: Kieran Brookes (Northampton Saints), Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers), Joe Marler (Harlequins), Mako Vunipola (Saracens), David Wilson (Bath Rugby)
Hookers: Jamie George (Saracens), Rob Webber (Bath Rugby), Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers)
Second Rows: George Kruis (Saracens), Joe Launchbury (Wasps), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints), Geoff Parling (Exeter Chiefs)
Back Rows: James Haskell (Wasps), Ben Morgan (Gloucester Rugby), Chris Robshaw (Captain, Harlequins), Billy Vunipola (Saracens), Tom Wood (Northampton Saints)
Scrum halves: Danny Care (Harlequins), Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)
Fly halves: Owen Farrell (Saracens), George Ford (Bath Rugby)
Centres: Brad Barritt (Saracens), Sam Burgess (Bath Rugby), Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby), Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs)
Back three: Mike Brown (Harlequins, Alex Goode (Saracens), Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby), Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs), Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby)