Eight players from Midlands teams have been named in the England side to play Wales in their crucial group stage Rugby World Cup clash on Saturday.
More than a third of the starting fifteen are from teams in the region, with two more on the bench:
- Tom Youngs (Leicester)
- Dan Cole (Leicester)
- Courtney Lawes (Northampton)
- Tom Wood (Northampton)
- Ben Youngs (Leicester)
- Jonny May (Gloucester)
- Joe Launchbury (Wasps) - Substitute
- James Haskell (Wasps) - Substitute
England won their opening match against Fiji, claiming a crucial bonus point in the process. Wales currently are top of Pool A on points difference, with England in second.
Rugby schoolboy William Webb Ellis and Leicester Tigers legend Martin Johnson featured in tonight's Opening Ceremony for the Rugby World Cup.
Webb Ellis, who is credited with inventing the sport when he picked up the ball and ran with it at Rugby school, was played by an actor.
He scaled a human pyramid of rugby players to rescue the Rugby World Cup Trophy, known as the Webb Ellis Cup, before placing it upon a stand.
Leicester Tigers legend Martin Johnson then took to the stage as each country was represented by one of their rugby greats. Johnson, who captained the national side to the trophy in 2003, was representing England.
An exhibition to celebrate the history of rugby in Leicester opens today, as the Rugby World Cup kicks off this evening.Read the full story ›
Former Leicester Tigers, Worcester Warriors and Wasps player Andy Goode has announced he will retire from rugby because of ongoing injury.Read the full story ›
Midlands players selected for the World Cup squad, and those who missed out, have been tweeting their reaction to today's squad announcement:
Over the moon and unbelievably honoured to be selected in the WC squad! Exciting times ahead!! Thank you for all the messages ???
Emotional day in camp. Couldn't be more proud to make to squad but feel for all those that miss out so narrowly.Thank you for all ur support
Ten players from Northampton Saints, Wasps and Leicester Tigers have been included in Stuart Lancaster's 31 man squad.Read the full story ›
Leicester Tigers and England Rugby have revealed that Manu Tuilagi will not be considered for selection for the England squad.Read the full story ›
Manu Tuilagi will not take part in this year's Rugby World Cup after admitting assaulting a police officer.Read the full story ›
Leicester Tigers are planning an £8 million redevelopment of their Welford Road stadium.
A new three-storey stand will replace the old clubhouse and boost capacity to more than 26,000.
Construction will start in May.