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Tuesday Jun 23, 2015

Stuart Lancaster explains David Strettle withdrawal as RWC squad train together

Stuart Lancaster explains David Strettle withdrawal as RWC squad train together
8
Comments

England head coach Stuart Lancaster spoke to the media on the day that his Rugby World Cup training squad ran out onto the training field for the first time as one group. He addressed David Strettle’s withdrawal and what he expects over the next seven weeks.

The Saracens winger withdrew from the squad after chosing to rather spend time relocating in France, where he has joined Top 14 finalists, Clermont, on a three year deal.

The 31-year-old, who won the Premiership title with Saracens last month, said in a statement:

“The opportunity to join Clermont and the subsequent decision to leave Saracens obviously was difficult and not one I have taken lightly.

“Having now committed to a three-year move at what I feel is the right time in my career and for my family, I would like to begin that challenge right away. With the England training camp beginning this week I wanted to be fair to Stuart and the rest of the squad before that started.”

Lancaster said Strettle’s decision was ‘disappointing’ but explained that Bath’s Semesa Rokoduguni has been called up.

Credit: @rugbymedia/nick heath

8 Comments

  • stroudos
    11:35 PM 25/06/2015

    Not yet. Going to have it serialised in the Daily Bastard - their lawyers will be helpful in defending why I hacked Lancaster's phone, read his emails and bugged his office at Pennyhill Park for six months.

    Reply
  • drg
    10:43 PM 25/06/2015

    *yet..

    Reply
  • drg
    10:43 PM 25/06/2015

    I've got to admit, I'm looking forward to your book on Lancaster decision making processes through RWC 2015... Very sly to give us little snippets regarding Strettle, Tuilagi and Hartley.. Got a release date yes?

    Reply
  • stroudos
    4:59 PM 25/06/2015

    Yeah, that's more likely! Come to think of it, the scenario I described is more like the sort of shit Sir Clive might have pulled while being "advised" by that prick Campbell.

    Reply
  • eddie-g
    3:39 PM 25/06/2015

    I agree Lancaster is shrewd, but I also think he's a pretty strait shooter. So it seems just as possible he told Strettle straight up, the moment you sign for Clermont, you have to drop out the squad. That's company policy, and your circumstances aren't exceptional. I imagine too that Strettle wasn't a definite to make the final cut, and the discussion might have gone a bit differently if the player in question was an essential squad member.

    Reply
  • stroudos
    2:06 PM 25/06/2015

    Here's my theory, based on my impression that Stuart Lancaster is a very shrewd, almost sly, operator. I reckon he realised that he should have selected Roko ahead of Strettle in the first place. Rather than admit publicly that he'd made a mistake and perhaps to save embarrassment for Strettle at being dropped, he contrived a story along the lines of what you describe above and got Strettle et al to go along with the party line. I may be reading too much into it of course - this is also based on an assumption that Lancaster secretly rates Roko as highly as I do.

    Reply
  • eddie-g
    6:51 PM 24/06/2015

    Here's what intrigues me. Strettle I assume was out of contract at Sarries and was always planning to join Clermont next season. In the case of many WC players, they have signed contracts with their French clubs with the provision that they'd join up after the world cup. Was it the case that Strettle could not sign his Clermont contract and participate in the World Cup due to England's selection policy (even if Clermont had sanctioned his availability)? If that's the case, basically he had a choice, sign with Clermont and leave the WC squad, or play as an uncontracted player and hope that Clermont would still sign him in October. Especially with his injury history, I guess I understand his decision, but it is a horrible position that he found himself in.

    Reply
  • stroudos
    3:56 PM 24/06/2015

    Hard to imagine a bloke with the chance to play in a world cup excusing himself from the squad like this, but he has his reasons and you have to respect the fact that he's made the call in time for Lancaster and the team to crack on. Fair play to him too for making it easy for Stuart Lancaster and making the decision for him. Would be unfair in my opinion to continue ignoring blokes like Steffon Armitage but keep someone else in the squad who is about to be in the same situation. Have to say, with all due respect, that I'm delighted, because I really feel that Rokoduguni was a massively conspicuous omission from the squad and I'm pleased he's now involved. Not only should he be in the squad, he would be my starting #14. He's the best defender in that area, which is going to be crucial particularly against the monster Nadodo. (Quite an interesting prospect, I admit, tasking a Fijian with stopping Fiji's greatest attacking threat). Would have liked a more ringing endorsement of Rokoduguni from Lancaster, but I suppose he can't very well say he was wrong to leave him out in the first place, can he.

    Reply


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