Burrell ‘let down’ by World Cup omission

Northampton centre Luther Burrell felt “let down” by coach Stuart Lancaster after he was left out of England’s squad for the Rugby World Cup.

The 27-year-old was overlooked for the 31-man squad in favour of fellow centres Henry Slade and Sam Burgess, despite being a regular for both the 2014 and 2015 Six Nations campaigns.

Lancaster has since left the role and been replaced by Australian Eddie Jones but Burrell couldn’t hide his disappointment after he was told he would not be part of the home World Cup campaign.

“He let me down,” said Burrell, speaking to the media for the first time since his omission from the squad.

“That is how I feel about him. I have known Stuart a long time. I have a huge amount of respect for the bloke, what he’s done and what he has achieved.

“I didn’t think I had done anything to justify not getting selected. That was one of the most heart-breaking things, because I had trained well throughout the summer and I played well in the jersey.”

Burrell admitted he felt he knew exactly what was about to happen as he entered Lancaster’s office on the morning of August 27, the day the final squad was announced.

He said: “As soon as I walked through the door I knew, I could feel it in the air, I could see it in his face.

“I just kind of sat there in silence, just let him speak and he told me. I just got up and left, trying to hold back my emotion, but I found that very difficult.

“He said the coaches had had a chat and said, ‘I thought you trained really well but we’re going with Sam. Don’t think this is the end for you. You will be back’.

“Mentally, I was gone. I was broken. I was the one who was pretty broken down in that room.”

Burrell has not spoken to Lancaster since that day but is now keen to put it behind him and concentrate on trying to impress new boss Jones.

He said: “It’s an exciting time for English rugby with a new coach on board, and all we want to do as players is show what have to offer. I want to get back into that England team. I’m determined to give it my best shot.”

Burrell, though, harbours no hard feelings towards his fellow Yorkshireman Burgess, who has returned to rugby league with South Sydney Rabbitohs, and said: “No bad feelings at all towards Sam.

“He didn’t put himself in the team. He trained just as well as anyone else. Sam got an opportunity of a lifetime, and who would turn that down? We have spoken and there is no grudge there.”

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