It is being reported that England coach Stuart Lancaster is ‘likely’ to invoke the RFU’s exceptional circumstances rule to include two French based players in his World Cup squad.
The brilliant form of flanker Steffon Armitage and full back Nick Abendanon in France could see the pair called up for the 2015 Rugby World Cup when Stuart Lancaster names his training squad next month.
Currently Lancaster is only allowed to select players based overseas in ‘exceptional circumstances’. It is believed that the RFU see a home-based World Cup as justification for employing such a clause.
Such has been the form of Steffon Armitage over the last 18 months, that he looks set to join up with Lancaster’s training squad ahead of the World Cup having won the European Player of the Year award last season.
The scintillating form of Clermont Auvergne full back Nick Abendanon since his move to France could also see him included in the training squad. However, the initial training squad will include 45 players when it is announced next month, so there are no guarantees the pair will make the final squad.
It is believed Lancaster wants to see how both players perform when given the opportunity to train within the England squad. Consideration however will be given to the potential impact on the morale of players in the fringe of the national squad.
Dai Young, Wasps director of rugby, meanwhile has given strong backing for two of his players, Joe Simpson and Elliot Daly, to force their way into Lancaster’s plans.
“Personally I think that they are up against it on discussions that I have had but from my personal view I don’t know what more they can do.
“I think consistently Joe Simpson has been outstanding in both attack and defence this season and his kicking game is a real plus. In broken play he is also a real threat so I don’t see there is much that he has not got really.
“Elliot Daly has also gone from strength to strength this season again. Last season there was some stone-chucking about his defence but his defence was outstanding (against Toulon) and at the end of the day you have to go and win games.
“If you get the ball into Elliot’s hands, things happen. Any team that wants to go out and score tries, any team that wants to cause team problems – Elliot Daly is a constant threat whenever he has the ball.”