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Why England are still weeks away from naming full RWC training squad

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Steve Borthwick will start training for the Rugby World Cup with a camp from June 12, but it won’t be until June 30 that the head coach will confirm his full England training squad ahead of the finals.

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Unlike Wales, Scotland and Ireland who named 54, 41 and 42-strong squads on May 1, May 9 and May 30 respectively, the English coach will instead host three restricted preparation camps in the lead-up to his end-of-June announcement.

Players from the four Gallagher Premiership semi-final clubs – Saracens, Sale, Northampton and Leicester – are not available for the week one camp from June 12, while Saracens and Sale players – who contested last Saturday’s final at Twickenham – are unavailable for the follow-up weeks two and three camps from June 19 and June 26.

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There is no clear indication as to how large a squad Borthwick will name when all eligible players are available for selection, but they will have five weeks of training – including a warm-weather camp in Italy along with a warm-up game away to Wales in Cardiff – to try and impress the head coach before he names his 33-strong squad on August 7 for the finals in France.

England will then have three more warm-up matches – home fixtures against Wales and Fiji with a trip to Ireland in between – before they head to France for a pool campaign that begins with their September 9 clash versus Argentina in Marseille.

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The increased squad size of 33 at the finals is two more than the 31 that Eddie Jones brought with him to Japan in 2019. New player welfare initiatives unveiled in 2021 by World Rugby confirmed the increase in the squads along with all teams getting a minimum of five days of preparation for each match in a less-cramped pool stage schedule that is being played across five weekends and not four as previously was the case.

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The Chassis Chisler 409 days ago

Going to be an interesting few weeks.

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