Saints stars could hold key to World Cup glory for England

Courtney Lawes (left) and Tom Wood (right) are already playing their part for England, but the likes of Dylan Hartley, Luther Burrell and Lee Dickson are ready and waiting

Courtney Lawes (left) and Tom Wood (right) are already playing their part for England, but the likes of Dylan Hartley, Luther Burrell and Lee Dickson are ready and waiting

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Northampton may not be hosting any World Cup matches, but don’t bet against the town playing a big part in the tournament in the coming weeks.

That is because Saints’ favourite sons are ready and waiting for the call to arms from their country.

From Alex Corbisiero to Calum Clark, Ben Foden to Dylan Hartley and Luther Burrell to Lee Dickson, Northampton have an embarrassment of riches 
from which England can choose.

And with injuries inevitable on the brutal battleground that is international rugby, more Saintsmen - Courtney Lawes, Tom Wood and Kieran Brookes are already involved - could soon get their chance.

There have already been whispers this week that Bath centre Jonathan Joseph could be out until the quarter-finals.

And if his injury is serious enough to throw his place in the squad into doubt, who better to replace him than Burrell, a starting centre in the past two Six Nations.

Should problems occur for the likes of hooker Tom Youngs or captain Chris Robshaw, where better to turn than to 66-cap Hartley, who is now free to play again after suspension, and Clark, two experienced campaigners with Premiership winners’ medals in their cabinet.

No one wants any of England’s chosen 31 to fall down, but if they do, Stuart Lancaster should know he need look no further than Northampton.

Because as it is, Saints’ squad for the start of the 
season will be simply incredible, considering the biggest international tournament in the game is currently going on.

They could easily select a team containing Corbisiero, Hartley, Clark, Dickson, Stephen Myler, Burrell and Foden in the Aviva Premiership curtain raiser at Worcester Warriors on October 16.

And as Foden pointed out last week, that would be a team that would strike fear into the hearts of many an opposition side.

Lancaster could head to the Gardens like a child carrying pocket money into a sweet shop for the first time, such are the selections he can make.

He may not have fancied a fizzing Burrell or a crackling Clark first time round as both missed the final cut, but it doesn’t mean they are not still on the shelf.

Those men have been rebuilt by the kind words of their colleagues and the 
supporters who know just how special they are as players.

And they will use pre-season matches against Saracens and Wasps to 
show they are in the right shape to perform if the call comes.

The waiting game continues for those men, but make no mistake - they have the ability and desire to be Saints for their country in this World Cup if they are given the chance.