England
One month to go: How are England shaping up for RWC 2015?
Tom Hamilton
August 18, 2015
© Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images

Main Issues

The weekend's win over France showcased the good and bad sides of where England are at the moment. First the positives: England's backs look to be playing with a new confidence and Anthony Watson and Jonny May could have done little more to put forward their claims. But while they enjoyed their escapades under the Twickenham floodlights, England's pack - albeit a largely experimental selection - creaked and accuracy in the set piece, both in the scrum and lineout, was mixed at best.

Squad Strength England's squad currently sits at 39 and will have to be reduced to 31 by August 31. While three-quarters of the final cut are nailed down, there are still decisions to be made over a front-rower, hooker and back-row in the pack and the exact make-up of the backs is still to be decided. England are expected to take four centres but Sam Burgess and Henry Slade's performance may cause a slight rejig to the original pecking order while the exact make-up of the back three is still to be confirmed.

Injury Concerns

Ben Morgan was England's main injury concern heading into their summer training programme but he managed 40 minutes against France on Saturday. Brad Barritt and Alex Corbisiero are doubts ahead of the weekend's matches while Lancaster has allayed any fears over Kieran Brookes' wrist which looked swollen when he came off last weekend.

What are the locals saying

"There is no sign of being closer to solving the biggest puzzle of the lot, namely the finer details of England's World Cup midfield blend. What is unquestionably true is that Slade has further complicated the equation with a bright, composed debut performance which fully justified his selection. Pitting him against Burgess - defensively strong, physical and hungry for work - is to compare apples and oranges but, between them, the pair offer rather more variety than, say, a duet between Burgess and Luther Burrell. If Burgess and Burrell make the final cut alongside Brad Barritt and Jonathan Joseph while Slade does not, it will not be a triumph of imaginative, proactive selection." - Rob Kitson, The Guardian.

© Tom Hamilton

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