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Lancaster has World Cup foundations in place
ESPN Staff
January 10, 2013
England's Stuart Lancaster fields questions from the media, West Park RUFC, Leeds, England, January 9, 2013
England's Stuart Lancaster fields questions from the media at Leeds Park RFC having unveiled his latest Elite Player Squad © Getty Images
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England head coach Stuart Lancaster believes the vast majority of his latest squad will feature at the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

Lancaster unveiled his latest Elite Player Squad yesterday that revealed seven changes including the addition of Gloucester centre Billy Twelvetrees and Northampton flanker Calum Clark to the selection mix. The England boss now believes he has the foundations in place for a successful assault on the sport's biggest prize in less than three years' time.

"The bulk of the squad should remain if you look at the quality of players we have got in individual positions and how well they are playing for their clubs as well," Lancaster said. "The majority of the squad should be able to go through way beyond the 2015 World Cup, to be perfectly honest."

Lancaster was speaking on the eve of this year's Six Nations and a year since he made a headline-grabbing start to his tenure by wielding the axe in the wake of England's scandal-hit 2011 World Cup campaign.

"So many things have happened in a year but it is interesting to sit here a year on and remember where we were as a group, " he said. "We made 15 changes this time last year. It wasn't just the 15 changes, it was the significance of the number of caps that were left in that side at the time."

But while praising the qualities of his current squad, Lancaster is wary of closing the selection door on those on the fringes - especially in the England Saxons squad with the likes of Wasps winger Christian Wade and Worcester flanker Matt Kvesic among those pushing for higher honours.

Another, Wasps No.8 Billy Vunipola will train with the senior squad as injury cover for Tom Croft and looms large as a rival to Gloucester's Ben Morgan and Leicester's Thomas Waldrom.

"We have a lot of lads like Owen Farrell, Brad Barritt or Manu Tuilagi who are under 25 and should be around for a long time. But you never want to shut the door on some of the Saxons players who have been selected, or lads outside the Saxons at the moment.

"Even now, with the evolution of the team, you see an experienced player like Tom Palmer drop out of the squad and a younger player like Joe Launchbury come in. Billy Vunipola is probably a good example of that as well. I think he is someone who has got tremendous potential. It is a key position, No.8, so I want to make sure he is given the development he needs."

England Senior Elite Player Squad:

Forwards - C Clark (Northampton Saints), A Corbisiero (London Irish), D Cole (Leicester Tigers), T Croft (Leicester Tigers), D Hartley (Northampton Saints), J Haskell (London Wasps), T Johnson (Exeter Chiefs), J Launchbury (London Wasps), C Lawes (Northampton Saints), J Marler (Harlequins), B Morgan (Gloucester Rugby), G Parling (Leicester Tigers), C Robshaw (Harlequins), M Vunipola (Saracens), T Waldrom (Leicester Tigers), D Wilson (Bath Rugby), T Wood (Northampton Saints), T Youngs (Leicester Tigers).

Backs - C Ashton (Saracens), B Barritt (Saracens), M Brown (Harlequins), F Burns (Gloucester Rugby), D Care (Harlequins), L Dickson (Northampton Saints), O Farrell (Saracens), T Flood (Leicester Tigers), B Foden (Northampton Saints), A Goode (Saracens), J Joseph (London Irish), D Strettle (Saracens), M Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers), B Twelvetrees (Gloucester Rugby), B Youngs (Leicester Tigers).

England Saxons squad:

Forwards - M Botha (Saracens), N Catt (Bath Rugby), L Deacon (Leicester Tigers), P Doran Jones (Northampton Saints), P Dowson (Northampton Saints), W Fraser (Saracens), J Gray (Harlequins), G Kitchener (Leicester Tigers), S Knight (Gloucester Rugby), M Kvesic (Worcester Warriors), M Mullan (Worcester Warriors), D Paice (London Irish), T Palmer (London Wasps), G Robson (Harlequins), E Slater (Leicester Tigers), H Thomas (Sale Sharks), B Vunipola (London Wasps).

Backs - N Abendanon (Bath Rugby), A Allen (Leicester Tigers), T Biggs (Bath Rugby), E Daly (London Wasps), K Eastmond (Bath Rugby), G Ford (Leicester Tigers), G Lowe (Harlequins), J May (Gloucester Rugby), U Monye (Harlequins), J Simpson (London Wasps), C Sharples (Gloucester Rugby), J Tomkins (Saracens), J Turner-Hall (Harlequins), C Wade (London Wasps), R Wigglesworth (Saracens).

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