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Catt seeks to solve centre dilemma

Mike Catt has urged Luther Burrell to solve England's World Cup "centre dilemma" when England face France in Paris on Saturday.

The midfield is proving the greatest headache for the Red Rose management as they attempt to whittle six down their options in the position from six to the four slots available in the 31-man squad for the global showpiece on home soil.

Burrell will reprise his RBS 6 Nations axis with Jonathan Joseph amid a demand from head coach Stuart Lancaster that he produce a "big performance" to see off his competition.

Joseph and Brad Barritt are guaranteed their World Cup places and Sam Burgess looks set to be included, leaving Burrell, Henry Slade and Billy Twelvetrees to fill the final slot.

Burrell has been given his audition at the Stade de France where he will lock horns with France's Wesley Fofana and Mathieu Bastareaud and Catt wants to see the powerful Northampton Saint seize the chance.

"We're looking for some good stuff from Luther - we just want Luther to be Luther. No one understands the centre dilemma better than Luther," England's attacking skills coach said.

"The dilemma is simple - six into four won't go, or maybe seven (fly-half Owen Farrell) into four won't go.

"When you have the likes of Henry Slade and Sam Burgess playing so well on their debuts, it definitely heightens the decision.

"And it's up to us to make the right decision and get a good balance, both at centre and throughout the rest of the team.

"Luther had a very good Six Nations and played exceptionally well alongside Joseph.

"We scored some very good tries in that tournament and hopefully they can rekindle the fire they had in that competition.

"It's their opportunity to go and shine. It's tough coming to France and playing against the likes of Fofana and Bastareaud, but they've played against them before."

Mike Brown will make his first appearance since the final outing of the RBS 6 Nations, also against France, after recovering from the concussion that ended his season.

The 29-year-old has established himself as first choice full-back, but must hit the ground running after Alex Goode showcased his attacking skills in the 19-14 victory at Twickenham last Saturday.

"Alex played exceptionally well and it was good to see him playing at that level and really laying a marker down," Catt said.

"Mike Brown has been fantastic for us over the past two to three years and having that competition for places is brilliant. It definitely pushes everyone to get better."

England have picked a near full-strength team led by Chris Robshaw for the second of their three warm-up matches as they look to build momentum heading into the World Cup.

Alex Corbisiero was not considered for selection due to a sciatic nerve problem, but Catt revealed that his condition has improved and will resume training next week.


From Belfast Telegraph