As England head coach Stuart Lancaster polishes the axe he will soon wield over his World Cup training squad, Exeter Chiefs coach Rob Baxter has backed Jack Nowell, Henry Slade and Luke Cowan-Dickie to be given a stay of execution.
The trio were all named in Lancaster’s 50-man training squad that will soon be trimmed ahead of next month’s two-week long high-altitude training camp in Denver before the final 31-man party to contest the World Cup is named on August 31.
All three played prominent roles in helping the Chiefs finish fifth in the Aviva Premiership Rugby table last term, narrowly missing out on a semi-final place.
Wing Nowell has won eight England caps, while fly-half Slade and front row Cowan-Dickie are uncapped, yet Baxter believes they will all convince Lancaster of their worth.
“I think they have a good chance of making the final squad,” he told the Exeter Express and Echo.
“They are quality players and have played very well in a strong season for us as a team.
“They are good guys who are grounded, so they will prepare well and train well in the camps.
“They have a great opportunity to do well. Once you train well and get yourself involved in front of the coaches and give yourself a chance to impress them, all of those lads have a great opportunity to be involved in a World Cup.
“I just hope they show what qualities they have and give themselves a chance to be involved in the next few weeks.”