Sam Burgess to get England call for World Cup

Sam Burgess
Sam Burgess is set to be one of four centres in the squad
Rugby World Cup
Hosts: England and Wales Dates: 18 September-31 October
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Sam Burgess is expected to be included in England's 31-man squad for the World Cup, which starts next month.

Rugby league convert Burgess only made his union debut for Bath in November and won his first England cap against France in August.

The 26-year-old's inclusion means there may be no place for fellow centre Luther Burrell, a regular during the past two Six Nations campaigns.

Head coach Stuart Lancaster will name his squad at 13:45 BST on Thursday.

Exeter's Henry Slade, 22, is set to be named as one of the four centres alongside Burgess.

Backs coach Andy Farrell insists selection will be based on many factors, not just individual performances in the two warm-up matches against France.

"We can't just go on 30 minutes of rugby, or 10 minutes of rugby," he said.

Danny Cipriani loses out to George Ford and Owen Farrell
Danny Cipriani loses out to George Ford and Owen Farrell

"It has to be what we know about the person's ability, whether it be speed, fitness or skill.

"We also need to go on his winning personality and character.

"It doesn't just go on one player against another player. It goes on a bigger picture and what is right for the squad."

Sale fly-half Danny Cipriani also misses out on selection, despite an impressive performance off the bench in the 25-20 defeat by France in Paris on Sunday.

England also have close calls to make at prop and in the second row.

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Burgess is not ready - Carling

Former England captain Will Carling says Burgess should not be taken to the World Cup after frequently being caught out of position against France.

"There is no one that I have spoken to who I respect - ex-players, coaches - who thinks he's ready," said Carling, who won 72 caps for England and led them to the 1991 World Cup final.

"I don't understand what the rush is and it's unfair on him. I feel sorry for him. If he wants to make it in union, there's plenty of time.

"He's been playing union for 10 months and half of that was in a different position to what England are playing him in.

"I don't believe he's one of the four best centres in England."

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