Rugby World Cup
England wield the World Cup axe
August 1, 2011
Wasps flanker Joe Worsely is one of those to be cut from the England squad © Getty Images
England manager Martin Johnson has released five players from his Rugby World Cup training squad with George Chuter, James Simpson-Daniel, David Strettle, Thomas Waldrom and Joe Worsley all set to miss the sport's showpiece event.
The 78-cap back-row forward Worsley, who made his Test debut in the 1999 World Cup and was part of the victorious squad in 2003, is arguably the biggest omission and as a result has seen his hopes of a fourth World Cup appearance dashed. The Leicester pair of hooker Chuter and No.8 Waldrom also find themselves surplus to requirements along with Saracens wing Strettle and the versatile Gloucester back Simpson-Daniel.
Johnson has retained a 40-man squad to begin preparations for England's forthcoming back-to-back internationals against Wales.
The decision to cut Worsley and Waldrom, who has been struggling with a calf injury, means the Harlequins captain Chris Robshaw is still pushing for World Cup selection. Chuter's departure leaves England with three hookers in Dylan Hartley, Steve Thompson and Lee Mears - all of whom are now likely to travel to New Zealand. Strettle and Simpson-Daniel appear to have been overtaken in the pecking order by Gloucester bolter Charlie Sharples and Harlequins wing Ugo Monye.
Johnson, who is yet to cut any of his seven props or his five second row players, 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."
Ben Foden and Chris Ashton officially launched England's new all-black change kit today. The squad will wear the strip for the first time against Wales at Twickenham on Saturday and against Argentina in the opening match of the World Cup.
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