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Andy Farrell says England Rugby World Cup spots not decided by warm-up games

Andy Farrell insists performance during England's summer training camp will have a greater influence on World Cup selection than the warm-up matches against France.

The tournament hosts name their 31-man squad on Thursday lunchtime with Danny Cipriani understood to be among the eight players culled despite his inspired cameo in Paris on Saturday night.

Luther Burrell's World Cup audition at the Stade de France suffered behind a back-pedalling Red Rose pack, putting Sam Burgess and Henry Slade in the driving seat for selection as two of the four centres who will be picked.

Burgess and Slade produced solid debuts at Twickenham on August 15, but it is the work during weeks of training that have really made an impression on the management.

"Twenty minutes of rugby cannot be the sole reason you pick someone. Or even sixty minutes of rugby that doesn't go so well. It has to be what's right for the group," backs coach Farrell said.

"It has to be what you've learned about the person, his character, his skill levels, his leadership within the group. It has to be a wide range of scenarios. You can't just come down to twenty minutes of rugby.

"Obviously you'd like to see them in the pitch and how cohesively they fit into a team performance, but you can't just go on that one piece of evidence.

"Different situations present themselves in every minute of the game. If Danny gets a chance to show what he does, that might be completely different to what happens the week afterwards.

"You could say Alex Goode could come on and do the same in the last twenty minutes. Could he? Probably. He could organise and do something.

"It's just circumstances, different situations that you have to weigh up, so you can't go off sections of games.

"You have to go off the facts that you now from working with these guys day in and day out. It's pretty unfair if selection has to be based solely on what happens in the Test match arena."


From Belfast Telegraph