Chris Ashton: England cut seven from pre-World Cup squad

Chris Ashton training with the England squad last month
Chris Ashton, pictured training last month, has scored 19 tries for England in 39 appearances

Winger Chris Ashton is one of seven players who have been cut from England's pre-World Cup training squad.

Fellow wings Marland Yarde and Semesa Rokoduguni also miss out, along with scrum-half Lee Dickson and centre Kyle Eastmond.

Prop Matt Mullan and flanker Matt Kvesic are the two forwards dropped as England cut their squad to 39 players.

England play the first of three World Cup warm-up games when they face France on Saturday, 15 August at Twickenham.

Radio 5 live rugby union reporter Chris Jones
Ashton hasn't been an England regular for some time under Stuart Lancaster, with the England head coach perceiving the likes of Jack Nowell and Anthony Watson to be more consistent and defensively reliable.
What is a surprise is that three wingers have been culled ahead of the warm-ups, leaving Nowell, Watson and Jonny May - a stand-out performer in the training camps according to Lancaster - scrapping for the two starting berths at the World Cup.

As expected, rugby league convert Sam Burgess remains in the squad and will be vying for one of the centre slots, while fly-half Danny Cipriani also makes the cut alongside fellow fly-halves George Ford and Owen Farrell.

The final 31-man squad has to be named by 31 August, while the World Cup starts on 18 September when England play Fiji at Twickenham.

England head coach Stuart Lancaster said "the competition for places has been very intense", adding that he had told the axed players "the door is not closed by any means".

Lancaster continued: "They are only an injury away and there is a lot of international rugby to be played this season, culminating in a three-Test tour to Australia.

"Overall we are in good shape. Both Nick Easter and Ben Morgan are now fit and we want to give them both opportunities to train fully and prove their form and fitness next week."

Reduced England training squad: Dave Attwood (Bath Rugby), Brad Barritt (Saracens), Kieran Brookes (Northampton Saints), Mike Brown (Harlequins), Luther Burrell (Northampton Saints), Sam Burgess (Bath Rugby), Danny Care (Harlequins), Danny Cipriani (Sale Sharks), Calum Clark (Northampton Saints), Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers), Alex Corbisiero (Northampton Saints), Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs), Nick Easter (Harlequins), Owen Farrell (Saracens), George Ford (Bath Rugby), Alex Goode (Saracens), Jamie George (Saracens), James Haskell (Wasps), Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints), Joe Launchbury (Wasps), George Kruis (Saracens), Joe Marler (Harlequins), Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby), Ben Morgan (Gloucester Rugby), Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs), Geoff Parling (Exeter Chiefs), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins), Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs), Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester Rugby), Mako Vunipola (Saracens), Billy Vunipola (Saracens), Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby), Rob Webber (Bath Rugby), Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens), David Wilson (Bath Rugby), Tom Wood (Northampton Saints), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers), Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers).