England Rugby World Cup squad: Sam Burgess and Henry Slade included as Danny Cipriani misses out

Stuart Lancaster includes rugby league convert Burgess in his 31-man World Cup squad

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The Independent Online

England have confirmed that Sam Burgess has been selected in their final 31-man squad alongside fellow centre Henry Slade, but there is no place for Danny Cipriani after the Sale Sharks fly-half was one of seven players to be axed.

Despite playing just one game of rugby union for his country since crossing codes from rugby league’s NRL, 26-year-old Burgess is named as one of four centres that also includes Slade, Brad Barritt and Jonathan Joseph, meaning that Luther Burrell and Billy Twelvetrees miss out.

Elsewhere, prop Alex Corbisiero misses out as the five props named are made up of Kieran Brookes, Dan Cole, Joe Marler, Mako Vunipola and David Wilson, while Luke Cowan-Dickie is the unlucky hooker to be dropped with Jamie George, Rob Webber and Tom Youngs making the cut. Dylan Hartley remains exiled, though could return during the tournament should injury or otherwise strike one of the aforementioned three hookers in the squad.

 

Nick Easter’s late bid for inclusion falls at the final hurdle, as he is neither selected as a lock of his customary No 8, while Northampton Saints flanker Calum Clark drops out. The second-row contingent is made up of George Kruis, Joe Launchbury, Courtney Lawes and Geoff Parling with Dave Attwood the unlucky absentee, while the back-row sees James Haskell, Ben Morgan Billy Vunipola and Tom Wood all join England captain Chris Robshaw.

 

Danny Care Richard Wigglesworth and Ben Youngs are retained at scrum-half with Owen Farrell and George Ford at fly-half, although the ability of Slade to play both 10 and 12 made him a more attractive option than Cipriani.

 

Finally, the back three features Mike Brown, Andy Goode, Jonny may, Jack Nowell and Anthony Watson, meaning Cipriani’s final chance goes begging with no place at full-back for the 27-year-old.

England head coach Lancaster said: "It's really positive that we have such depth and options to choose from.

"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.

"After 10 weeks in camp we have made our final selection of players and we believe we have a great group to take us into the tournament.

"With three weeks to go before we play Fiji we feel we are in good shape as we head into next Saturday's game against Ireland.

"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."

England squad for the 2015 World Cup:

Props: K Brookes (Northampton), D Cole (Leicester), J Marler (Harlequins), M Vunipola (Saracens), D Wilson (Bath).

Hookers: J George (Saracens), R Webber (Bath), T Youngs (Leicester).

Second rows: G Kruis (Saracens), J Launchbury (Wasps), C Lawes (Northampton), G Parling (Exeter).

Back rows: J Haskell (Wasps), B Morgan (Gloucester), C Robshaw (Harlequins, capt), B Vunipola (Saracens), T Wood (Northampton).

Scrum halves: D Care (Harlequins), R Wigglesworth (Saracens), B Youngs (Leicester Tigers).

Fly halves: O Farrell (Saracens), G Ford (Bath).

Centres: B Barritt (Saracens), S Burgess (Bath), J Joseph (Bath), H Slade (Exeter).

Back three: M Brown (Harlequins), A Goode (Saracens), J May (Gloucester) , J Nowell (Exeter), A Watson (Bath Rugby).

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