Stuart Lancaster
Lancaster says England's World Cup plans are unaffected despite a fourth straight second place Six Nations finish.Getty Images

England coach Stuart Lancaster insists his side are on course for the World Cup despite finishing second in the Six Nations for a fourth straight year.

Lancaster's men fell six points short of snatching the title away from back-to-back champions Ireland despite beating France 55-35 at Twickenham in the highest scoring game in the tournament's history.

Though after again failing to claim the title once again under his stewardship, Lancaster believes England remain on track for the World Cup on home turf.

"There has always been a hugely sense of belief we are going in the right direction internally," he said. "I think the challenges we faced leading up to the Wales game didn't dent that belief and as we've gone on throughout the tournament

"Judging by what I see in training on a weekly basis I see a tight connected group of who are improving all the time.

"Clearly we are still a bit young in the back line and light on experienced but that will improve with the likes of Brad Barritt and Manu Tuilagi available.

He added: "We beat Australia, we beat Wales. We've just put 55 points on France. New Zealand we have beaten before and obviously pushed them close in the summer series.

"Absolutely [we are ready] you saw the influence the crowd had playing at home. With a good three months inside us in a World Cup camp we can work on our cohesion."

The World Cup training squad will be named in mid-May and though Lancaster has a host of injury victims to welcome back including Joe Launchbury and Ben Morgan as well as Barritt and Tuilagi, the squad is expected to be made up of many of those who featured in the Six Nations.

However, the England coach has opened the door to several peripheral players ahead of the selection date after admitting time remains to force their way into his plans.

"In my mind I've got a pretty good idea about the wider squad and I would not be doing my job if I didn't have a pretty good idea about who was in the pecking order," Lancaster explained.

"There is definitely opportunities for people on the outside to get in. There are three months of Premiership rugby to come.

"On top of that there are a huge amount of things you can learn about players in camp so those with not a great deal of international exposure, the likes of Henry Slade and one or two others couldn't push their way into the World Cup squad.

"I know the World Cup isn't won by 15 players, it's won by 31 so my priority will be be making sure it is the right 31. Some players have not had the chance to put their hand up.

"Alex Corbisiero is a good example of a world class loose head who due to injury has not been able to put his best foot forward. Danny Care could easily come back into contention."