Rugby Union

Jonny May on course to make England squad

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Jonny May is the leading contender to complete England's complement of wings at the World Cup after being described by Stuart Lancaster as the star performer of the summer training camp.

Anthony Watson and Jack Nowell are certain to be included among the final 31-man squad, leaving May, Semesa Rokoduguni, Marland Yarde and Chris Ashton to battle it out for the last available place.

Lancaster, England's head coach, has revealed it is May who has caught the eye during three weeks of training at Pennyhill Park and a fortnight in Denver.

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"Jonny has been the stand-out performer in the squad so far. He's been really excellent. He's really got the bit between his teeth," Lancaster said.

Lancaster insists Owen Farrell must excel during the World Cup warm-up matches if he is displace George Ford at fly-half.

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Ford took advantage of Farrell's injury-enforced absence during the 2015 RBS 6 Nations by bringing a new dimension to the Red Rose attacking game and remains the incumbent in the position.

When the two faced off for Bath and Saracens in the Aviva Premiership final two months later, it was Farrell who emerged as the outstanding playmaker in a one-sided afternoon at Twickenham.

Opinions are divided over who should be England's fly-half with the creative spark offered by Ford offset by the reliability and temperament of Farrell, while Danny Cipriani is an outsider in the race at 10.

Lancaster will use the trio of warm-up games, which start against France on August 15, to clarify his thinking but suggests that it is Ford who is in the driving seat.

"George was exceptional for us during the Six Nations and for Bath beyond that, so Owen's going to have to go over and beyond that to get the shirt back off him," he said.

"Danny obviously has to then get himself above those two to get his opportunity. I'll create opportunities for all of them and that will help dictate."

"George is in a strong position at the moment, but he needs to play well because he's competing against good players."

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Topics:
IRB Rugby World Cup
England Rugby
Rugby Union

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