Rugby World Cup 2015: Sam Burgess out of England squad

Sam Burgess
Sam Burgess has started one of England's three group games
World Cup: England v Uruguay
Venue: Etihad Stadium Date: Saturday, 10 October
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio 5 live, plus live text commentary on BBC website

Centre Sam Burgess has been left out of England's squad for Saturday's final World Cup Pool A match against Uruguay.

Coach Stuart Lancaster has made nine changes after the 33-13 defeat by Australia which knocked his side out.

Alex Goode, Jack Nowell, Henry Slade, George Ford and Danny Care all come into the back line, with Owen Farrell switching to inside centre.

Mako Vunipola, James Haskell and Nick Easter come into the pack, with Chris Robshaw continuing to lead the side.

Centre Brad Barritt, who started against Australia, is not available because of an arm injury, while lock Courtney Lawes has not recovered from the knee injury he suffered against Wales.

Number eight Ben Morgan (dead leg) and scrum-half Ben Youngs (ankle) will not be fit to train fully until Thursday so both have been left out of the match-day squad.

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Mike Brown, Jonathan Joseph, Joe Marler and Tom Wood move to the bench, while Jonny May - taken off injured at half-time against Australia - drops out of the 23, along with Burgess and fellow replacements Rob Webber and Kieran Brookes, with hooker Jamie George and prop David Wilson drafted onto the bench.

Exeter's Slade, who will make his World Cup debut, said the Uruguay match was a chance to "finish on a high".

"We want to be remembered for this performance and not the couple of performances previously," the centre told BBC Radio 5 live.

The selection of Burgess in the 31-man tournament squad was a controversial decision after the dual-code international only made his Test debut on 15 August, against France.

He started at inside centre against Wales after a reshuffle sparked by an injury to Joseph, and returned to the bench against the Wallabies, coming on as a replacement for the final 15 minutes.

Mike Ford (left) with Sam Burgess
Bath coach Mike Ford says he is "completely surprised" with rumours linking Burgess with a return to league

Former players, such as ex-England scrum-half Kyran Bracken, have said selecting Burgess in the squad was a mistake.

There have been rumours that Burgess will return to rugby league after the tournament, but his Bath coach Mike Ford has insisted the former Bradford Bulls player is committed to union and will play as a flanker for his club rather than as a back.

He told BBC Radio 5 live: "Sam wants to go through to the next World Cup and he wants to do that with Bath Rugby.

"He knows he's a six. We talked about a good goal for Sam would be that the next time he gets back into the England squad in January it would be as a six, as a back-row player."

England were heavily criticised for becoming the first World Cup hosts to fail to make the knockout stages, following defeats by Wales and the Wallabies.

The future of Lancaster is under scrutiny, although the Rugby Football Union has said it will not make a hasty decision.

After defeat by Australia, Lancaster said it was "not the time" to decide on his future.

Henry Slade passes the ball during England training
Henry Slade impressed on his England debut in the first World Cup warm-up Test against France

"This is an opportunity for us to finish the tournament with a strong performance against Uruguay," Lancaster told the RFU's official website.external-link

"We owe it to ourselves and the supporters, who have been brilliant throughout.

"This is an important game for rugby in the north of England and we want to give those people who have been looking forward to this game something to cheer about."

Full-back Goode, who will making his bow at this tournament, said Tuesday's training session was "more upbeat" than previous days.

"There were players who were downcast, we all are," he said. "But we're just trying to put that behind us now and go forward.

"We want to finish with a bang, throw the ball around and showcase all our skills."

England team: Alex Goode; Anthony Watson, Henry Slade, Owen Farrell, Jack Nowell; George Ford, Danny Care; Mako Vunipola, Tom Youngs, Dan Cole, Joe Launchbury, Geoff Parling, James Haskell, Chris Robshaw (capt), Nick Easter.

Replacements: Jamie George, Joe Marler, David Wilson, George Kruis, Tom Wood, Richard Wigglesworth, Jonathan Joseph, Mike Brown.

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