Lancaster trims World Cup squad

England coach Stuart Lancaster
England coach Stuart Lancaster
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England coach Stuart Lancaster has cut five players from his large 50-man squad ahead of the World Cup - with the rest of the group heading off to a training camp in Denver.

Youngsters Maro Itoje and Elliot Daly both miss out following the reduction to 45 names, as do Ed Slater, Stephen Myler and the experienced Nick Easter.

Easter will remain with club side Harlequins for treatment on a back problem whilst the quartet of Itoje, Daly, Slater and Myler will now be on standby for the squad.

Lancaster is pleased with how preparations are going and is now ready to push his players further in a high-altitude camp.

“The players have worked very hard for the past three weeks and there is a really good feel about the group,” he said.

“Denver is the next stage in our training, a chance to develop further in a different environment.”

The uncapped pair of Saracens’ Itoje and Wasps centre Daly have caught the eye of Lancaster - but he admits competition for places means they must be patient as they wait for their international bows.

“Elliot and Maro have fitted in and trained well and it’s been great for them to be in this environment,” added Lancaster.

“They are both young players who have bright futures. They have made a great impression and I am sure other opportunities will come for both of them further down the line.

“Steve and Ed, likewise, have contributed greatly. Ed has done well to recover from his knee injury having missed the majority last season. However, there is a lot of competition in the second row.

“I have spoken to all the players to explain that things can change very quickly and they can come back in at any point.

Veteran number eight Easter, part of the 2007 side that reached the World Cup final, will not travel to the United States but Lancaster cleared up why the 36-year-old was being left behind.

“Nick will stay for treatment on his back rather than risk aggravating it further with travel,” he said.

“We look forward to him rejoining the squad in August when we will review the squad and also consider those who have been unable to begin the camp after suffering injuries at the end of last season.”