The final 31-man England squad revealed on 27 August is a young one. With an average age of 26, only three of the squad have over 50 England caps. Seven of the selected men have accrued ten or less caps for their country. By Taylor Heyman
Lancaster named three hookers: Jamie George, Rob Webber and Tom Youngs. Banned Dylan Hartley has not been included, but Lancaster refused to rule out a return to the squad in the event of injury.
As expected, Dan Cole will be the lynchpin of the front row, one of seven players in the team with World Cup experience. He is joined by David Wilson, Joe Marler and Mako Vunipola. Northampton Saint Kieran Brookes is the least experienced prop in the squad, but has shown promise in the 2014 autumn Internationals and 2015 Six Nations.
Courtney Lawes, Geoff Parling, Joe Launchbury and George Kruis were named in the second row.
Ben Morgan edged out Nick Easter, securing his place with a solid return to form following his broken leg earlier in the season. Dave Attwood and Calum Clarke also missed out.
Scrum-half choices were as expected; Danny Care, Ben Youngs and Richard Wigglesworth offer Lancaster good options.
Owen Farrell and George Ford were selected as expected at fly-half, with Henry Slade offering another option. His ability to play well at both ten and 12 have given him the edge in selection.
Joining Slade in the centres are Brad Barritt, Jonathan Joseph and Sam Burgess.
Without doubt the biggest upset in the selection was Luther Burrell being dropped in favour of Sam Burgess, the ex-league player with one international cap.
Competition for the back three was intense. Mike Brown, Alex Goode, Jonny May, Jack Nowell and Anthony Watson were selected. Danny Cipriani lost out to Alex Goode, who like Cipriani, can play at fly-half if needed.
England’s 31-man squad
Props: Kieran Brookes (Northampton Saints, 10 caps), Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 51 caps), Joe Marler (Harlequins, 32 caps), Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 22 caps), David Wilson (Bath Rugby, 43 caps)
Hookers: Jamie George (Saracens, 1 cap), Rob Webber (Bath Rugby, 13 caps)
Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 23 caps)
Second Rows: George Kruis (Saracens, 8 caps), Joe Launchbury (Wasps, 23 caps), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 39 caps), Geoff Parling (Exeter Chiefs, 24 caps)
Back Rows: James Haskell (Wasps, 60 caps), Ben Morgan (Gloucester Rugby, 28 caps), Chris Robshaw (captain, Harlequins, 38 caps), Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 18 caps), Tom Wood (Northampton Saints, 37 caps)
Scrum-halves: Danny Care (Harlequins, 52 caps), Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens, 22 caps), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 48 caps)
Fly-halves: Owen Farrell (Saracens, 30 caps), George Ford (Bath Rugby, 12 caps)
Centres: Brad Barritt (Saracens, 22 caps), Sam Burgess (Bath Rugby, 1 cap), Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby, 12 caps), Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 1 cap)
Back Three: Mike Brown, (Harlequins, 38 caps), Alex Goode (Saracens, 18 caps), Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby, 15 caps), Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs, 9 caps), Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, 10 caps)
So how does this squad compare with the lineup Rugby World predicted? Find out who we would have picked on the next page.