Puzzled Lancaster ponders his options

August 25, 2015
Rugby Union - International Rugby - Bet Now at Bet365

England head coach Stuart Lancaster admits that the performances from their fringe players against France have given him a selection dilemma.

The Red Rose boss will name his 31-man squad for the World Cup on Thursday with several positions proving to be competitive. Henry Slade and Sam Burgess were excellent in midfield as the hosts for the global tournament defeated Les Bleus 19-14 at Twickenham over a week ago.

Fly-half Danny Cipriani, who featured at full-back, then impressed alongside fellow replacements Nick Easter, Dave Attwood, Jamie George and Danny Care in Saturday's match.

They couldn't prevent England going down to a 25-20 loss to Philippe Saint-Andre's men but it provided an interesting conundrum for Lancaster to ponder.

"I thought all the bench made a difference," he said. "I thought both props did well, Jamie George did really well when he came on and Nick Easter carried the ball and made some dents. Both Dannys, Care and Cipriani, also added energy.

"That's the nature of World Cup selection and the nature of these games. We're four weeks away from Fiji but certainly some of the guys on the bench put their hand up and, when you look at last week, some of the guys there did well too."

Despite the impact from the replacements, Lancaster was disappointed with the starting XV's display against France, players who are a certainty to make the squad.

He added: "If I had any hair I would have torn it out. Obviously, I don't think the pitch helped but equally to concede so many penalties at the set-piece, especially at scrum time, and to not nail enough set-piece ball was disappointing.

"With the ill-discipline at the breakdown it allowed France to have an easy ride in the first half."

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