Ashton close to final 30

Coach has 'a pretty good idea' of his squad

By Ben Sullivan.   Last Updated: 01/08/07 2:28pm

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Ashton: August 14 deadline

Ashton: August 14 deadline

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England v Wales, Saturday 3.30pm, Sky Sports 2

"There are still one or two areas that I don't know about and obviously the next two weeks will decide those."
Brian Ashton Quotes of the week

Brian Ashton has told Sky Sports News that he is very close to knowing his 30 names for England's World Cup challenge.

The head coach has two warm-up games against Wales and France in the next two weeks before he has to name his 30-man squad on August 14.

Ashton has chosen an experimental midfield of Dan Hipkiss and Andy Farrell for Saturday's Test against Wales at Twickenham and the centres know that if they impress, they should be on the plane to France.

"I'd like to think that all 15 who are playing this week are good enough to go to the World Cup," Ashton said.

"I'd like to think so, obviously. But whether that is going to be the case or not, we don't know.

"There are still one or two (to think about). I've got a pretty good idea of the majority of the 30 players that I want to take to France. But there are still one or two areas that I don't know about and obviously the next two weeks will decide those."

Leicester centre Hipkiss is set to earn his first cap alongside former Great Britain rugby league skipper Farrell.

"There is a certain amount of pressue on because there is only a limited amount of time until the World Cup and you obviously like to make an impression in that first game," he told Sky Sports News. "It is a reasonable time to come into the side - I will just have to try impress on Saturday."

England play France at Twickenham on August 11, then the World Cup squad will face the hosts in Marseille on August 18.

The world champions get the defence of their trophy under way against the USA on Sunday September 8.

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