Delight for Ludlam, Francis and Lawes as they are named in England World Cup squad

Piers Francis
Piers Francis

Saints flanker Lewis Ludlam has capped a remarkable rise by being named in England's World Cup squad.

Ludlam only won his first cap on Sunday, producing a hugely impressive display in a 33-19 win against Wales at Twickenam.

And he has done enough to earn a seat on the plane to Japan, where the World Cup starts in September.

Courtney Lawes and Piers Francis, who both played a part against Wales, have also been included in England's 31-man group.

The squad have more than 1,000 caps, with 17 having played in at least one of the previous World Cups.

England boss Eddie Jones said: “Today is another step in the progress towards the Rugby World Cup.

Lewis Ludlam is in England's World Cup squad

Lewis Ludlam is in England's World Cup squad

"We have taken the decision to go early because of what we learned from previous campaigns.

"We want the squad to know early and now we can get on and be the best prepared England side there has ever been, ready to win the World Cup.”

Dylan Hartley, who continues to recover from a knee problem, is not included.

On the players not selected Jones added: “A lot of good players have missed out, we feel for them, I feel for them personally.

Courtney Lawes

Courtney Lawes

"But as we know the World Cup is an incredible tournament where opportunities can present themselves and all those players who have missed out have been told they have to be ready.”

England have three matches against Wales (August 17), Ireland (August 24) and Italy (September 6) before the tournament starts.

Jones said of their importance: “Every game is an opportunity to improve our game fitness, our team cohesion, and our tactical adaptability.

"Each game for us will have a specific purpose.”

England will begin their Rugby World Cup campaign in Japan against Tonga in Sapporo (September 22, KO 11:15am UK time) before playing USA Rugby in Kobe (September 26, KO 11:45am UK time), Argentina in Tokyo (October 5, KO 09:00am UK time) and France in Yokohama (October 12, KO 09:15am UK time).

England’s official Rugby World Cup squad

Forwards

Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 86 caps) **

Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, 12 caps)

Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 11 caps)

Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 10 caps)

Jamie George (Saracens, 37 caps) *

Maro Itoje (Saracens, 27 caps)

George Kruis (Saracens, 32 caps) *

Joe Launchbury (Wasps, 59 caps) *

Courtney Lawes (Saints, 72 caps) **

Lewis Ludlam (Saints, 1 cap)

Joe Marler (Harlequins, 58 caps) *

Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins, 22 caps)

Jack Singleton (Saracens, 1 cap)

Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby, 9 caps)

Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 42 caps) *

Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 53 caps) *

Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons / Sale Sharks, 13 caps)

Backs

Joe Cokanasiga (Bath Rugby, 5 caps)

Elliot Daly (Saracens, 31 caps)

Owen Farrell (Saracens, 70 caps) *

George Ford (Leicester Tigers, 56 caps) *

Piers Francis (Saints, 5 caps)

Willi Heinz (Gloucester Rugby, 1 cap)

Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby, 41 caps) *

Jonny May (Leicester Tigers, 45 caps) *

Ruaridh McConnochie (Bath Rugby, uncapped)

Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs, 33 caps) *

Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 22 caps) *

Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers, 33 caps) *

Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, 34 caps) *

Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 86 caps) **

* number of Rugby World Cup tournaments played