Rugby World Cup 2019: Willi Heinz, the WhatsApp message of dreams and benefiting from Danny Cipriani

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As it so often does with the England team, it all started with a WhatsApp message. It is a very 21st Century approach, but the Rugby Football Union do not tell players when they have made the squad, even when it is for the Rugby World Cup.

Eddie Jones prefers to speak only with the players who he has not selected, which on this occasion meant having one of the most painful conversations that a head coach can have, over and over again. Either by face-to-face meeting, text or phone call, the England boss had to contact a number of fringe players to let them know this was the end of their World Cup dream.

For scrum-half Willi Heinz, Monday morning was about as uncertain as possible. The New Zealand-born half-back made his England debut in Sunday’s victory over Wales that was all the more impressive given the responsibility of vice-captain being placed on his shoulders. But with Ben Spencer, Danny Care, Dan Robson and Richard Wigglesworth all understandable options for the World Cup party, Heinz could not take his place for granted.

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So when an alert popped up on his phone to add him to the new WhatsApp group that contained precisely 30 o

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