After naming a strong 50 man training squad, Stuart Lancaster will have a tough job cutting that down to 31 for the World Cup. We take a look at the 7 uncapped players selected in the squad who will look to force their way into the final squad.
Cowan-Dickie has enjoyed a terrific season with Exeter Chiefs and deserve his place in the training squad. Cowan-Dickie will be up against the experienced duo of Dylan Hartley and Tom Youngs for the starting position at Hooker, but his versatility at being able to play at Loosehead Prop could come in handy for Stuart Lancaster if England are struck down by several injuries. It looks unlikely that Lancaster would drop either Hartley or Youngs but Cowan-Dickie will look to impress Lancaster and force his way into his plans.
What a difference a year makes with Maro Itoje going from captaining the England U20s to World Cup success to potentially making the World Cup squad for the Senior side. After making his debut for Saracens at the end of last season, Itoje has now become a regular starter for Saracens impressing at both second-row and flanker. Like Cowan-Dickie his versatility playing different positions will only help his chances of making the final squad.
After returning from a long-term knee injury Ed Slater has returned to the England squad. Slater who can play at both second-row and Flanker has been selected in previous England squads but is yet to appear in a test match. He will look for a first cap in the Summer warm-ups and with the number 6 jersey still very much up for grabs he will look to impress Stuart Lancaster over the next few weeks.
You have to wonder if Burgess would have been selected if Tuilagi didn’t have his run in with the law. Despite playing his Rugby as a flanker for Bath at the moment, Lancaster has decided to add Burgess to the squad as a back with his powerful ball-carrying skills being the main reason for his selection. After failing to impress at centre for Bath and in the England Saxons v Ireland Wolfhounds game you have to question why Lancaster has added him to his squad.
This will be the fourth time Calum Clark has been called up to an England squad but he has failed to make any matchday squads after twice missing out through injury and was suspended for the other occasion. Clark has had a successful season for the Saints this season but his discipline will always be looked at and that could be a deciding factor in him missing out on the final squad.
Another rising star from the Chiefs with Slade looking to battle with the likes of George Ford, Danny Cipriani and Owen Farrell for the number 10 jersey. With George Ford looking likely to go into the World Cup as England’s first choice outhalf, Slade will battle it out with Farrell and Cipriani for a place in the squad. Unfortunately Slade might just miss out on the final squad but is certain to get his first cap over the Summer and will become an England regular in years to come.
Tuilagi’s loss is Daly’s gain with the Wasps man chances of making England’s final squad looking more likely after the announcement that Tuilagi would not be selected. Elliot Daly has been a bright spark in Wasps revival this season and after performing well in the Saxons game in February he will look to put pressure on Jonathan Joseph for the number 13 jersey. England have a lot of centres to choose from but like Joseph, Daly’s pace and agility and ability to create space could become an important factor in him making the final squad.