World Cup dream already over for five of England squad as Lancaster gets ruthless

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England head coach Stuart Lancaster is set to end the 2015 Rugby World Cup dream for a handful of players today.

A 50-man training squad announced by Lancaster in May is expected to be reduced to 45 ahead of the next pre-World Cup training phase in Colorado.

England will head to Denver this weekend, but for a small group of players, the World Cup journey will already be over.

Such is the enviable strength in depth available to Lancaster, that even cutting five individuals from 50 will not be an easy task.

For the vast majority, though, the England-hosted World Cup in September and October will remain on their agenda, with uncapped players like Sam Burgess, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Maro Itoje and Henry Slade all expected to board the plane.

But among those who could conceivably come under the selection microscope might be Northampton fly-half Stephen Myler, Wasps prop Matt Mullan, Bath hooker Rob Webber and Harlequins back-row forward Nick Easter.

It is currently the only planned reduction in squad size ahead of Lancaster revealing his final 31-man World Cup group late next month, which is likely to be less than three weeks before England’s opening game against Fiji at Twickenham on September 18.