England coach Stuart Lancaster has dropped five players from his initial 50-man pre-tournament World Cup squad, the Rugby Football Union announced Friday.
The remaining 45 players will now head off to a high-altitude training camp in Denver, Colorado as they battle to make the final 31-man squad which Lancaster, like all World Cup coaches, must name by August 31.
Veteran back-row forward Nick Easter has been omitted, although their is a possibility he could be recalled, as have rising stars Maro Itoje and Elliot Daly.
— Andy Goode (@AndyGoode10) July 10, 2015
Meanwhile, lock Ed Slater and fly-half Stephen Myler have also been dropped. Easter will remain with club side Harlequins for treatment on a back problem whilst the quartet of Itoje, Daly, Slater and Myler will now be on standby for tournament hosts England’s squad.
“The players have worked very hard for the past three weeks and there is a really good feel about the group,” said Lancaster. “Denver is the next stage in our training, a chance to develop further in a different environment.”
The uncapped duo of Wasps centre Daly and Saracens lock Itoje must wait for their international chance, although Lancaster said both had “bright futures”.
“Elliot and Maro have fitted in and trained well and it’s been great for them to be in this environment,” the coach 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 of last season. However, there is a lot of competition in the second row.
“I have spoken to all the players to explain that things can change very quickly and they can come back in at any point.”
Lancaster said injury was the reason why 36-year-old Easter, a member of the England side beaten by South Africa in the 2007 World Cup final, was not travelling to the United States.
“Nick will stay for treatment on his back rather than risk aggravating it further with travel,” he said. “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.”
England’s 45-man squad will spend two weeks in Rugby Town USA in Glendale, Colorado.
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) July 10, 2015
England 45-man World Cup squad
Full-backs: Mike Brown (Harlequins), Alex Goode (Saracens) Wings: Chris Ashton (Saracens), Jonny May (Gloucester), Jack Nowell (Exeter), Semesa Rokoduguni (Bath), Anthony Watson (Bath), Marland Yarde (Harlequins)
Centres: Brad Barritt (Saracens), Luther Burrell (Northampton), Sam Burgess (Bath), Kyle Eastmond (Bath), Jonathan Joseph (Bath), Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester)
Fly-halves: Danny Cipriani (Sale), Owen Farrell (Saracens), George Ford (Bath), Henry Slade (Exeter)
Scrum-halves: Danny Care (Harlequins), Lee Dickson (Northampton), Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens), Ben Youngs (Leicester)
Back-rows: Calum Clark (Northampton), James Haskell (Wasps), Matt Kvesic (Gloucester), Ben Morgan (Gloucester), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins), Billy Vunipola (Saracens), Tom Wood (Northampton)
Second-rows: Dave Attwood (Bath), Courtney Lawes (Northampton), Joe Launchbury (Wasps), George Kruis (Saracens), Geoff Parling (Leicester)
Props: Kieran Brookes (Newcastle), Dan Cole (Leicester), Alex Corbisiero (Northampton), Joe Marler (Harlequins), Matt Mullan (Wasps), Mako Vunipola (Saracens), David Wilson (Bath)
Hookers: Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter), Rob Webber (Bath), Tom Youngs (Leicester), Jamie George (Saracens)
Wycliff Palu and Christian Leali'ifano were the two notable omissions from the 31-man Wallabies squad announced ahead of their Rugby Championship opener.
No.8 Palu and inside centre Leali'ifano were among nine players left out from the initial 40-man training squad named by Australia coach Michael Cheika. Others to miss out were Dave Dennis, James Hanson, Tetera Faulkner, Samu Kerevi, Toby Smith, Henry Speight and Nic White.
"There were obviously some really tough calls to make," Cheika said. "The players who have not been named in this 31-man squad will still remain part of the group and will continue to contribute.
"We have also taken the opportunity to rest players, as we know it is going to be a long international season," he added.
"I have had a good chance to test some combinations and see some players in a high intensity environment. It's given me great confidence knowing we're establishing some depth in key positions."
The squad, captained by hooker Stephen Moore, contained two non-capped players in ACT Brumbies lock Rory Arnold and NSW Waratahs winger Taqele Naiyaravoro.
France-based Matt Giteau and Drew Mitchell also kept their places in the final squad.
The Wallabies play South Africa in the opening round of The Rugby Championship in Brisbane on July 18.
Centre Jean de Villiers continued a remarkable recovery from a career-threatening injury when he was picked by South Africa for the first of five pre-Rugby World Cup matches.
The Springboks play a World XV at Newlands Stadium in Cape Town on Saturday in a non-cap game ahead of the Rugby Championship and World Cup.
De Villiers was included among eight replacements and coach Heyneke Meyer told a media briefing that the centre would play.
There were fears that the 34-year-old South Africa skipper would be forced to retire after suffering a knee dislocation and ligament damage during a defeat to Wales in Cardiff last November.
While his Springbok team-mates played in the Super 15 or for European clubs, De Villiers underwent extensive rehabilitation.
And his determination was rewarded when Meyer gave him a chance to play.
“Jean is a massive asset to South African rugby and it is wonderful that we can give him some game time from the bench,” said Meyer.
“His return is testament to his incredible work ethic and profes- sional approach to the game.
“He has put in hours of extra work to get here and is a great example to any player on how to put yourself in the best possible position to recover.”
With De Villiers starting on the bench, the cap- taincy has been given to 38-year-old lock Victor Matfield with scrum- half Ruan Pienaar vice-captain.