ENGLAND head coach Stuart Lancaster has admitted the withdrawal of former Saracens winger David Strettle from his World Cup training camp was the right call once it emerged he did not want to delay his new career at Clermont Auvergne.
Strettle was part of the Saracens side that won the Premiership title last month with victory over Bath at Twickenham before announcing he would be leaving Allianz Park for the French Top 14 side.
Bath’s Semesa Rokoduguni, who made his England debut in the autumn international clash against New Zealand in October, has been called up to England’s training squad, which reported to their base at Pennyhill Park yesterday.
“After visiting France recently and discussing it with his family, he has made the decision to move early to get settled before the season in France starts,” said Lancaster.
“Obviously it is disappointing but David and I have chatted and he feels that, having made the move, he wants to get on with forging his new career and we both agreed it was the best course of action for him to withdraw from the squad.”
Strettle has won 14 England caps since making his international debut against Ireland at Croke Park in 2007, and was a shock omission from Martin Johnson’s World Cup squad four years ago, having missed the previous tournament with a broken foot.
While his decision is set to end the 31-year-old’s hopes of representing his country at a World Cup, Stettle – Saracens’ record try-scorer in Premiership history – is confident in the merits of his stance.
“Having now committed to a three-year move at what I feel is the right time in my career and for my family, I would like to begin that challenge right away,” said Strettle.
“With the England training camp beginning this week, I wanted to be fair to Stuart and the rest of the squad before that started.”