We take a look at a team of England players who could be set to break their way into the Rugby World Cup squad later this year…
15. Nick Abendanon
Abendanon has been in scintillating form for Top 14 side Clermont Auvergne this season and could be a potential bolter should England relax their overseas selection policy.
14. Christian Wade
Wade is probably the best finisher in the Premiership right now and would certainly add something different to the current England backline if selected.
13. Elliot Daly
Daly has hit his best form at exactly the right time for Wasps and is capable of covering a number of positions making him ideal for joining a World Cup squad.
12. Matt Banahan
Banahan has been playing primarily on the wing this season, but has been in excellent form for Bath and has prior experience of playing on the international stage.
11. Alex Lewington
Lancaster is believed to be keeping close tabs on London Irish winger Alex Lewington who has had an incredible breakthrough season for the Premiership side.
10. Henry Slade
Slade can cover 10, 12 and 13 which makes him ideal for joining a World Cup squad, and could be the answer to England’s problem position of inside centre.
9. Joe Simpson
Other than Ben Youngs, Simpson has probably been the stand-out scrum half in the Premiership this season, and can’t be far off England recognition.
8. Steffon Armitage
Much like with Abendanon, Armitage would have to receive special dispensation to play, however circumstances don’t come much more exceptional than a home World Cup.
7. Matt Kvesic
Kvesic has been on the fringes of the England squad for some time now, and can’t be far off being a part of the World Cup squad as he offers a point of difference from other back rowers.
6. Dave Ewers
The Exeter Chiefs man is capable of covering both blindside and number 8 so could be a handy man to have, and adds an added ball carrying dimension that England can lack at times.
5. Ed Slater
Injuries have held Slater back from more playing time with England this year, however if he can return to fitness he could well be in contention once more.
4. Maro Itoje
The young Saracens lock is enjoying a bright season with his club, and if he can continue as he has then there’s a good chance he could force Stuart Lancaster’s hand.
3. Kyle Sinckler
Sinckler has some catching up to do before being a serious consideration, however a couple of injuries could see him stepping into contention.
2. Luke Cowan-Dickie
There is still some debate over who is England’s best option at hooker right now, which could see Cowan-Dickie being given a chance at the World Cup.
1. Alex Waller
England are incredibly well stocked at loosehead right now, however much like with Sinckler, a few injuries to key players could see Waller propelled into contention.