Lancaster had to cut eight players from England’s training group, including two he has known since their childhood in Leeds, centre Luther Burrell and back-row Calum Clark.
But rightly George Ford and Owen Farrell get the nod at fly-half due to their consistency over the last 18 months.
Alex Corbisiero, meanwhile misses out after suffering from numerous injury problems of late.
Lancaster praised the “integrity and class” of the players throughout the selection process.
“It’s been a real rollercoaster”, said Lancaster.
Rugby league convert Sam Burgess has been named as part of coach Stuart Lancaster’s 31-man England squad for the 2015 Rugby World Cup less than a year after making his transition to the sport.
I am disappointed for Danny Cipriani – and the World Cup – that he has been left out of England’s squad.
“His tackle technique and strength in the hit were never in question and for me, he has just the right amount of thug in him”. Told his World Cup audition was the clash with France in Paris, but the powerful Northampton centre was unable to get involved with his pack going backwards.
There are so many leadership roles within a team, and if you look back 12 years to the 2003 side there was more than half a dozen players that had captained England.
The conspicuous absence of Danny Cipriani, Manu Tuilagi, Dylan Hartley, Steffon Armitage and others also raises the performance stakes, particularly as vintage ex-centres such as Will Carling and Brian O’Driscoll believe Burgess is far from the finished article, a Yorkshire pudding who has yet to rise fully.
Fly halves: O Farrell, G Ford.
“I can reassure everyone, 100 per cent, that in training everybody has had an opportunity to put themselves forward”, Lancaster added.
“With three weeks to go before we play Fiji we feel we are in good shape as we head into next Saturday’s game against Ireland”.
Cipriani accepted his non-selection, tweeting a long message that said he was grateful for the time he had been given to prove himself, emphasising the good communication he had enjoyed with the coaching staff.
“He’s picked on merit from what we’ve seen in the camp”, said Lancaster, whose host nation kick the tournament off against Fiji on Friday, September 18. “They have both been excellent and deserve their chance”. It’s just the start of my journey.
“I’ve had open conversations with Stuart and the coaches the whole time and learnt a lot from them and enjoyed my time”.
He ended by urging everyone to support the squad. “Just a message to say thank you for the support”.
Burgess, Luther Burrell and Henry Slade have been competing for two of the four fiercely-contested centre berths and Slade and Burgess appear to have edged Burrell.
Hookers: J George, R Webber, T Youngs.
Props: Joe Marler, Dan Cole, Mako Vunipola, David Wilson, Kieran Brookes.