David Strettle has withdrawn from England’s World Cup training squad and will be replaced by Bath Rugby’s Semesa Rokoduguni.
The 31-year-old wing, who won the Premiership title with Saracens last month and will join French club Clermont Auvergne next season, decided to pull out of the squad before they assembled today to begin England’s preparations for the Rugby World Cup.
England Head Coach Stuart Lancaster said: “Clearly a lot has been going on with David recently with the late interest from Clermont and his decision to leave Saracens.
“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.
“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.
“We all wish David and his family well in France as they begin a new chapter in their lives.
“I will bring in Semesa Rokoduguni, who was very unlucky not to be included in the first instance, and is now looking forward to joining up with the rest of the players. Roko is currently in Fiji but he will be with us as soon as possible.”
Strettle added: “The opportunity to join Clermont and the subsequent decision to leave Saracens obviously was difficult and not one I have taken lightly.
“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.
“With the England training camp beginning this week, I wanted to be fair to Stuart and the rest of the squad before that started. It goes without saying that I wish England the very best for the tournament and I will be supporting them all the way.
“I am extremely proud to have represented England and will look fondly back on the 14 caps I have won for my country since 2007.”
Rokoduguni, a Lance Corporal and reconnaissance tank soldier with the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, made his first England appearance against New Zealand during the QBE Internationals in November 2014.
“I’m delighted to have been given the opportunity to join England for their World Cup training camp,” said Rokoduguni. “It’s a huge privilege and I’m really looking forward to meeting up with the boys.”