England coach Stuart Lancaster has dropped five players from his initial 50-man pre-tournament World Cup squad, the Rugby Football Union announced on Friday.
The remaining 45 players will head to a high-altitude training camp in Denver, Colorado for two weeks as they battle to make the final 31-man squad which Lancaster, like all World Cup coaches, must name by August 31.
Veteran back-rower Nick Easter has been omitted, although there is a possibility he could be recalled, as have rising stars Maro Itoje and Elliot Daly.
Lock Ed Slater and five-eighth Stephen Myler have also been dropped.
Easter will remain with club side Harlequins for treatment on a back problem while the quartet of Itoje, Daly, Slater and Myler will be on standby for tournament hosts England’s squad.
“The players have worked very hard for the past three weeks and there is a really good feel about the group,” said Lancaster.
“Denver is the next stage in our training – a chance to develop further in a different environment.”
The uncapped duo of centre Daly and lock Itoje must wait for their international chance.
“Elliot and Maro have fitted in and trained well and it’s been great for them to be in this environment,” the coach said.
“They are both young players who have bright futures. They have made a great impression and I am sure other opportunities will come for both of them further down the line.
“Steve and Ed, likewise, have contributed greatly.
“I have spoken to all the players to explain that things can change very quickly and they can come back in at any point.”
Lancaster said injury was the reason why 36-year-old Easter, a member of the England side beaten by South Africa in the 2007 World Cup final, was not travelling to the US.
England 45-man World Cup squad:
Fullbacks: Mike Brown, Alex Goode
Wingers: Chris Ashton, Jonny May, Jack Nowell, Semesa Rokoduguni, Anthony Watson, Marland Yarde
Centres: Brad Barritt, Luther Burrell, Sam Burgess, Kyle Eastmond, Jonathan Joseph, Billy Twelvetrees
Five-eighths: Danny Cipriani, Owen Farrell, George Ford, Henry Slade
Halfbacks: Danny Care, Lee Dickson, Richard Wigglesworth, Ben Youngs
Back-rows: Calum Clark, James Haskell, Matt Kvesic, Ben Morgan, Chris Robshaw, Billy Vunipola, Tom Wood
Second-rows: Dave Attwood, Courtney Lawes, Joe Launchbury, George Kruis, Geoff Parling
Props: Kieran Brookes, Dan Cole, Alex Corbisiero, Joe Marler, Matt Mullan, Mako Vunipola, David Wilson
Hookers: Luke Cowan-Dickie, Rob Webber, Tom Youngs, Jamie George
World Cup warm-ups:
August 15, Twickenham: England v France
August 22, Stade de France: France v England
September 5, Twickenham: England v Ireland
World Cup pool matches:
September 18, Twickenham: England v Fiji
September 26, Twickenham: England v Wales
October 3, Twickenham: England v Australia
October 10, Manchester City Stadium: England v Uruguay