Australia international Drew Mitchell has accused England's coaching staff of being "naive" to suggest that Steffon Armitage could disrupt squad harmony if selected.
However, Armitage's Toulon teammate Mitchell has hit back at these claims by accusing England of taking the easy option.
"To be honest I think that's a bit of a cop-out," he is quoted as saying by The Mirror. "I think that is just people who are based in England raising queries because perhaps they, or someone they are close with friendship-wise, are the ones who could miss out if Steffon comes in.
"If one guy coming in is able to really disrupt the group culture then I guess the focus would have to go back onto how strong is that culture? Steffon is a really adaptable and likeable guy. He's adapted in any group I've seen him in and he's a very well-liked member of our squad.
"To say he would disrupt the environment or the culture of the group is quite naive. Part of me hopes he is not included because it is a pretty tough pool there with Australia, Wales, Fiji, England and Uruguay. But Steff's a mate of mine and I would really like to see him get what he deserves and play again for England."
Armitage is the current European Player of the Year, while he has also been nominated for that accolade once more this term following a string of impressive displays.