Lancaster calls for desire

England coach Stuart LancasterStuart Lancaster claims he already knows the majority of his World Cup squad but has issued to a challenge to the players to grab a “once in a lifetime opportunity” of representing England in a home tournament (England 3/1 – World Cup 2015 Outright).

England host the 2015 World Cup, which starts next September, and Lancaster says he is “80 per cent there” in terms of squad selection, but there are still places up for grabs.

He said: “I am 80 per cent there, but the camp will be competitive and so it should be as the 2015 World Cup is a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

One player who could come into the reckoning is Rugby League convert Sam Burgess.

Burgess has joined Bath after playing a key role in South Sydney Rabbitoh’s NRL Grand Final success but his debut has been delayed until at least December due to a facial injury.

Lancaster, however, insists Burgess could yet force his way into the England squad ahead of the tournament.

On Burgess, he told Sky Sports News: “Having spoken to him, his mind-set obviously is to make the World Cup squad.

“We have some very good centres who I’m sure will have something to say about that and he will have to learn the game quickly but he’s mentally strong.”

England face New Zealand on November 8 before games against South Africa, Samoa and Australia in consecutive weekends.

Lancaster’s side slumped to a 3-0 series defeat when they toured New Zealand earlier this year and he feels they will have to be at their best to see off 6/4 World Cup favourites and defending champions, the All Blacks.

The England head coach also admitted he is disappointed not to have won any silverware during his time in charge of the national side and he is keen to secure trophies.

He added: “Our players learned on that tour what it takes to win at the highest level.

“New Zealand play right to the final whistle. It has been frustrating not to have won something.

“We are on track but we have got to be better at clearing the final hurdle. That pain sits inside you and drives you. As for this autumn, we will have to be at our very best.”

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