Lancaster: I had no choice over England exiles

Ross McLean
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ENGLAND head coach Stuart Lancaster has defended the exclusion of overseas-based players from his World Cup training squad after resisting pressure to relax the Rugby Football Union’s stance.

The policy meant there was no place for Toulon flanker Steffon Armitage or Clermont Auvergne full-back Nick Abendanon in Lancaster’s 50-strong squad for the summer’s training camps, which he announced yesterday.

“When the policy came out there was a commitment from a group of players to the England team,” he said. “There were those players who were in England at the time and there were some who made the decision to return to England. For the last three years they have dedicated themselves to the shirt.”

Saracens wingers Chris Ashton and David Strettle both earned recalls, while code-switcher Sam Burgess was among seven uncapped players selected by Lancaster.