Sam Burgess has been included in England’s 31-man squad for the Rugby Union World Cup, which starts next month.  Rugby league convert Burgess only made his union debut for Bath in November and won his first England cap against France in August.

The 26-year-old’s inclusion means there is no place for fellow centre Luther Burrell, a regular during the past two Six Nations campaigns. Head coach Stuart Lancaster has also left out fly-half Danny Cipriani.

Exeter’s Henry Slade, 22, is named as one of four centres alongside Burgess, Saracens’ Brad Barritt and Jonathan Joseph of Bath, while Kieran Brookes is picked ahead of loosehead Alex Corbisiero, who has struggled with fitness recently.

Ben Morgan is named as one of the back rows, despite having played just 40 minutes of competitive rugby since suffering a broken leg and, in the second row, George Kruis has beaten Dave Attwood to a spot in the 31.

England head coach Stuart Lancaster said: “It’s really positive that we have such depth and options to choose from.