FOUR Wasps stars have been named in England’s extended training squad for this year’s Rugby World Cup.
Elliot Daly, James Haskell, Joe Launchbury and Matt Mullan have all been selected this week by England head coach Stuart Lancaster.
Wasps’ Director of Rugby, Dai Young, says he was mot surprised to see Launchbury and Haskell included and was full or praise for Daly and Mullan for forcing their way back into contention this season.
He said: “I am thrilled for Elliot, James, Joe and Matt for achieving their England call-ups.
“Elliot is a fantastic talent who has taken huge strides forwards this season and, having seen him develop over the past couple of seasons, I believe he is fully ready to make the step-up to international rugby and could make a significant impact in England’s midfield.
“I’m also delighted for Matt Mullan on his return to the squad. He has been one of Wasps’ most consistent performers this season. Matt has also shown tremendous leadership this season, captaining the side while Haskell was away with England.
“Seeing Joe Launchbury and James Haskell back in the squad was always expected, but I am still over the moon for them.
“Joe is the perfect example of class being permanent. After six months on the sidelines through injury, he came off the bench against Exeter in his first game back and never looked like he’d missed a match.
“Haskell has really impressed everyone at the club with his leadership this season, since being made captain. He has set high standards for the squad and is always pushing the players and himself to hit those standards and to take the club to the next level.”
It was not such good news for Joe Simpson and and Christian Wade, who have both been stand-out performers for Wasps this season but have not been named in the initial 50-man squad.
Young added: “Joe Simpson was really unlucky to pick up an injury in the last game of the season, but we expect him to be fully fit and raring to go again in the next month or so and so there’s no reason why he shouldn’t force his way into the squad after completing his rehab.
“He is playing the best rugby of his life and was the form nine in the Premiership at the time of his injury, so fingers crossed we will see his name as part of the England squad when he’s back from injury.
“I am disappointed for Christian not to see his name in the 50 man squad but as Stuart (Lancaster) says, although he has just missed out on the initial selection, there may be opportunities for him to come back in further down the line.
“I am obviously biased, but for me Christian is the best attacking threat in the Premiership and I wouldn’t swap him for another winger.
“He has created and scored tries this season that I don’t think any other winger could create. Hopefully he will be able to demonstrate that skill on the international stage in the future.”
Support community journalism by making a contribution
Thanks for reading this and the Coventry Observer.