England’s Joe Worsley will miss the Rugby World Cup after being cut from the team’s pre-tournament training camp.
The 34-year-old – who has won 78 England caps – is the highest profile absentee with George Chuter, Thomas Waldrom, David Strettle and James Simpson-Daniel also being told they will take no further part with the training squad.
Explaining the situation, England boss Martin Johnson said: “Thomas had an injury to his calf and he hasn’t been able to train that much. He has gone back to Leicester to participate in their pre-season.”
“The other decisions have all been tough because everyone has participated and contributed. It is particularly tough on Stretts (Strettle) because he has trained very, very well.”
“Simpson-Daniel has had a couple of niggling injuries and a bit of illness. Joe has come back from some injuries last year and worked incredibly hard to get back in but has come up a little bit short right now.”
These are some brutally honest comments from Johnson, but it is important that he lets the players know where they stand with regards to England’s World Cup preparations.
The England manager now has 40-man squad to choose from for the upcoming back to back matches against Wales and this will be cut by 10 before the team fly to New Zealand for the beginning of their World Cup campaign.
England World Cup training squad
Forwards (22): Props: Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers), Alex Corbisiero (London Irish), Paul Doran-Jones (Northampton Saints), Tim Payne (London Wasps), Andrew Sheridan (Sale Sharks), Matt Stevens (Saracens), David Wilson (Bath Rugby). Hookers: Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints), Lee Mears (Bath Rugby), Steve Thompson (London Wasps). Locks: Mouritz Botha (Saracens), Louis Deacon (Leicester Tigers), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints), Tom Palmer (Stade Francais), Simon Shaw (London Wasps). Back row:Tom Croft (Leicester Tigers), Nick Easter (Harlequins), Hendre Fourie (Sale Sharks), James Haskell (Unattached), Lewis Moody (Bath Rugby), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins), Tom Wood (Northampton Saints).
Backs (18): Full-backs: Delon Armitage (London Irish), Ben Foden (Northampton Saints). Wings: Chris Ashton (Northampton Saints), Mark Cueto (Sale Sharks), Ugo Monye (Harlequins), Charlie Sharples (Gloucester Rugby) Centres: Matt Banahan (Bath Rugby), Riki Flutey (London Wasps), Shontayne Hape (London Irish), Mike Tindall (Gloucester Rugby), Manusamoa Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers). Fly-halves: Toby Flood (Leicester Tigers), Charlie Hodgson (Saracens), Jonny Wilkinson (Toulon). Scrum-halves: Danny Care (Harlequins), Joe Simpson (London Wasps), Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers).