Clive Woodward got the bad news he had been hoping wouldn't come when both David Rees and Kyran Bracken (pictured) were ruled out of the World Cup squad.
Rees, who played only 18 minutes of Saturday's final World Cup warm-up match against the Premiership All Stars, has failed to respond to treatment for his groin injury, and with a history of similar injuries in the past it was decided not to risk him breaking down in the tournament.
Meanwhile, Saracens scrum-half Bracken has also been forced out of the squad by a long-standing back problem. Even a visit to controversial faith healer Eileen Drewery was unable to improve Bracken's prospects of playing a part in the competition.
"I'm obviously disappointed that I haven't been able to recover in time for the Rugby World Cup and I respect the fact that Clive had a deadline," said Bracken, who has been troubled by the back injury for months.
"Sadly, neither player can now be considered," confirmed Woodward.
The withdrawals mean that both Wasps' Martyn Wood and Leicester winger Leon Lloyd, who have been training with the squad, will be confirmed as members of the 30 man party.
"Both have performed well when they have been part of the squad either in
training or in the warm-up games and I believe they will do an excellent job
for us," said Woodward