England’s assistant coach, Richard Wigglesworth, emphasized that the upcoming World Cup warm-up game against Wales will not be used as a decisive factor for final squad selection. He believes it is crucial to provide players with clarity on their positions and not put undue pressure on them by treating the match as a “selection shoot-out.”
The head coach, Steve Borthwick, will announce the 33-man squad for the World Cup in France three weeks before the World Rugby deadline. Wigglesworth stated that they already have a good idea of the final squad, and discussions have been ongoing for some time.
The focus during August will be on preparation and building team cohesion rather than solely on selection decisions. The coaching staff wants to avoid making the entire preparation period centered around the selection process. They have carried a relatively small squad throughout the warm-up matches to ensure cohesion and clarity in their plans.
Wigglesworth, who has participated in two previous World Cups as a player, learned from those experiences and understands the importance of providing players with a sense of fairness and clarity during the selection process.
He confirmed that Ollie Chessum, Ollie Lawrence, and Billy Vunipola have returned to training after recovering from injuries. For Chessum, it marks a swift return from a serious ankle fracture suffered during the Six Nations in March.
Prop Will Stuart expressed that the game against Wales is an opportunity to showcase the team’s hard work during the pre-season, indicating their determination to perform well in the upcoming matches.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Selection
Question: Will the game between England and Wales be a determining factor for the World Cup squad selection?
Answer: No, the England assistant coach, Richard Wigglesworth, emphasizes that the match will not be a “selection shoot-out.” The coaching staff aims to provide players with clarity and focus on preparation and cohesion throughout August. The final squad decisions have been under discussion for some time, and the game against Wales is not the sole factor for selection.