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Five rookies in England rugby coach Stuart Lancaster's sights

England head coach Stuart Lancaster will name his Rugby World Cup training squad on Wednesday as the countdown continues to September's big kick-off at Twickenham.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at five uncapped players who are set to get the nod from Lancaster and be part of his initial plans building towards the final 31-man World Cup squad announcement in late August.


Age: 26.

Height: 6ft 5in.

Weight: 18st 4lb.

Position: Centre/flanker.

Club appearances: 19.

Points: 20.

Form guide: Made his Bath debut less than six months ago after a high-profile switch from rugby league. Started as a centre, but now playing at blindside flanker. Improving impressively game by game.


Age: 22.

Height: 6ft 0in.

Weight: 14st 11lb.

Position: Centre/full-back.

Club appearances: 111.

Points: 195.

Form guide: Possesses arguably the most destructive outside break of any centre in England. Offers an electric presence, making things happen and always asking questions of opposition defences.


Age: 22.

Height: 6ft 2in.

Weight: 13st 9lb.

Position: Fly-half/centre.

Club appearances: 61.

Points: 314.

Form guide: Continues to perform with a maturity beyond his years, combining smart tactical appreciation with consistently accurate goalkicking. Not fazed by the big occasion.


Age: 21.

Height: 6ft 0in.

Weight: 17st 8lb.

Position: Hooker.

Club appearances: 40.

Points: 25.

Form guide: All-action player who has established himself as a firm favourite at Sandy Park. Workaholic in the loose, accurate and consistent in the set-pieces, he is rightly winning rave reviews.

MARO ITOJE (Saracens)

Age: 20.

Height: 6ft 5in.

Weight: 18st 1lb.

Position: Lock/flanker.

Club appearances: 27.

Points: 5.

Form guide: Captained England to Junior World Championship glory in New Zealand last year, and he has effortlessly moved through the gears at senior level. Offers second-row and back-row options, plus considerable leadership skills. What is there not to like?


From Belfast Telegraph