Rugby

Name RWC squad now - Woodward

2015-08-24 14:46
Clive Woodward (File)

London - England's World Cup winning coach Clive Woodward wants current coach Stuart Lancaster to end the uncertainty surrounding his final squad for the World Cup by naming it immediately.

Critics concerned by a poor performance in Saturday's 25-20 defeat by France in a warm-up game in Paris have voiced concerns that a week before the Aug. 31 deadline, Lancaster still seems uncertain about which players to cull for his final squad of 31.

His problems were further complicated on Saturday when many of the first-choice side underperformed and fringe players such as Danny Cipriani and Nick Easter made strong cases for inclusion.

Lancaster said he still has decisions to make on one or two positions and has not yet confirmed when he will announce his final squad. The squad is set to be involved in two full-on 15-a-side training matches this week to help the coaching staff finalise their choices but no date has been set for the squad announcement.

"England should have made their final cuts already and it's clearly been affecting players and their performances," Woodward said in a column for the Daily Mail.

"If we in the media and England fans are talking about the issues and permutations, you can be sure the players are doing likewise.

"Stuart Lancaster should show real leadership... and announce the squad this evening."

Lancaster needs to cut eight players from the current training squad of 39 but Woodward believes that "selection issues have been a major distraction for too long".

"We are led to believe that Jonathan Joseph and Brad Barritt are the preferred first-choice centre partnership, yet they have never played together at centre in a Test," he added. "That's extraordinary."

England, who won the World Cup under Woodward in 2003, play Ireland in their final warm-up game at Twickenham on Sept. 5.

They open this year's tournament in Pool A against Fiji on Sept. 18.

Read more on:    england  |  rwc 2015  |  clive woodward  |  rugby
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