Months before the 2015 World Cup in England begins, the host nation have been dealt a blow as the ever-consistent David Strettle has withdrawn from the training squad.
The former Saracens winger, now of Clermont, has chosen to withdraw from Stuart Lancaster's training squad for the upcoming World Cup.
After recently transferring to French runners-up Clermont, the 31-year-old winger has decided to 'abandon' his country's pursuit of 'world domination' to move over to France earlier than necessary and get his family settled.
“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" said Strettle.
Following the withdrawal of the Saracens 'try machine', Stuart Lancaster has called up Bath's dynamo winger Semesa Rokoduguni.
Strettle's timing with regards to his withdrawal is clearly a decision that was pre-meditated, evident in him stating “with the England training camp beginning this week I wanted to be fair to Stuart Lancaster and the rest of the squad before that started."
Thus the coach was given the opportunity to call up Rokoduguni before the camp commences.
Strettle's International Future
At 31 years of age David Strettle is far from the young, promising talent he was when he arrived on the rugby scene. This being said, Strettle is the epitome of consistency - a try scoring winger who, though unlikely to dazzle, will rarely make a mistake.
The upcoming move to France coupled with the winger's age seem to suggest his international career has reached its conclusion - something Strettle can only ever view with nostalgia.
The 31 year-old has stated "I will look fondly back on the 14 caps I have won for my country since 2007”, suggesting that he too realises the curtains have closed on an international career that should have arguably been far more extensive, and long-lived than his number of caps suggest.