Rugby League legend Sam Burgess has been included in England's 31-man Rugby World Cup 2015 squad, less than a year after switching codes.
The NRL Grand Final winner has been selected as one of four centres, with Exeter's Henry Slade, his midfield partner at Twickenham for the RWC 2015 warm-up win over France, amongst a quartet that also features experienced Saracens centre Brad Barritt and England's star performer in the Six Nations, Jonathan Joseph.
Nick Easter and Danny Cipriani have been omitted from the 31-strong squad, as have centres Luther Burrell and Billy Twelvetrees, that contains 17 forwards and 14 backs, despite strong performances off the bench in last weekend's defeat to Les Bleus in Paris.
“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," said England head coach Stuart Lancaster.
“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 believe 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 RWC 2015 squad:
Forwards: Kieran Brookes, Dan Cole, Joe Marler, Mako Vunipola, David Wilson, Jamie George, Rob Webber, Tom Youngs, George Kruis, Joe Launchbury, Courtney Lawes, Geoff Parling, James Haskell, Ben Morgan, Chris Robshaw (capt), Billy Vunipola, Tom Wood.
Backs: Danny Care, Richard Wigglesworth, Ben Youngs, Owen Farrell, George Ford, Brad Barritt, Sam Burgess, Jonathan Joseph, Henry Slade, Mike Brown, Alex Goode, Jonny May, Jack Nowell, Anthony Watson.
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