Stuart Lancaster
Stuart Lancaster says the core of his World Cup squad is already cementedGetty Images

England coach Stuart Lancaster admits the door is starting to close on players hoping to play in the World Cup after confirming his initial 34-man squad for the Six Nations.

Danny Cipriani, Nick Easter and George Kitchener were the notable inclusions in the squad, while the likes of Courtney Lawes, Joe Launchbury, Ben Morgan and Ben Foden are unavailable due to injury.

And with eight months to go before the World Cup in September, Lancaster says time is rapidly running out for players to force their way into his thinking.

"I think we're nearly there really," said Lancaster. "There isn't a great difference from the previous squad. Injuries play their part. When I went through the actual EPS [Elite Player Squad] situation, there are actually very few changes.

"There are some new faces. We have had an unfortunate time with injuries in the autumn. There has been change but it hasn't been by design but by injury."

The squad announcement includes the players available for the Six Nations opener against Wales on 6 February but Lancaster is at liberty to call-up players who are currently sidelined.

Cipriani's selection comes after reports claimed he was ready to abandon hopes of being selected for the World Cup and move to Toulon, where he would be deemed unavailable to his country.

But Lancaster says the recall for the Sale Sharks fly-half does not represent a last chance for the 27-year-old.

"I don't know where the last chance thing come from to be honest," the England coach stated. "We brought him into that New Zealand tour and he was on the bench for the first test, obviously we had players missing from the Premiership final.

"He's 27 years old. He's the same age as many of the other players and hopefully he'll be around for the next two to four years. [Selection] will come down to not previous reputation but delivering every week.

"We as coaches watch every Premiership game every week and selection will not be selected on bias, and Danny will be part of that."