Dave Craven: Empathy for Lancaster and faith in his call

THIS squad selection business is a tough gig isn’t it?

England coach Stuart Lancaster
England coach Stuart Lancaster

I imagine Luther Burrell wasn’t just coming up with platitudes when the England centre said before the friendly against France nine days ago that he didn’t feel any extra pressure as he strived for World Cup selection.

After all, the former Leeds Carnegie player has impressed since debuting in the 2014 Six Nations with three tries, being ever-present in this year’s tournament, too, forming a fine partnership with Jonathan Joseph.

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You could understand why he might be confident enough in securing one of four centre berths for the World Cup.

But it is a fickle, at times heart-breaking, business and so the big Yorkshireman hasn’t made the cut.

Another big Yorkshireman has in Sam Burgess after just a few months of rugby union experience and a few minutes Test match football.

It is a significant call, a major gamble on coach Stuart Lancaster’s part, especially as he has also included Henry Slade, another centre with just one cap.

But on such calls careers are made. The judging can’t be done yet but the coach must have been convinced. Now it’s up to his two rookies to prove he wasn’t misguided.

I’m sure neither will falter when it matters most.