Rugby-England ponder replacement for COVID victim Marler

England will decide on Tuesday whether to add another prop to their squad after Joe Marler tested positive for COVID-19, ruling him out of Saturday's test against Australia and probably the game against South Africa on Nov. 20. Harlequins prop Marler tested positive on Monday and, unlike in the case of Owen Farrell last week, further tests confirmed it was not a false positive.


Reuters | Updated: 09-11-2021 21:41 IST | Created: 09-11-2021 21:41 IST
Rugby-England ponder replacement for COVID victim Marler

England will decide on Tuesday whether to add another prop to their squad after Joe Marler tested positive for COVID-19, ruling him out of Saturday's test against Australia and probably the game against South Africa on Nov. 20.

Harlequins prop Marler tested positive on Monday and, unlike in the case of Owen Farrell last week, further tests confirmed it was not a false positive. Marler will now isolate for 10 days while the rest of the squad wait for results from PCR tests. He came off the bench to replace Ellis Genge for the last 13 minutes of Saturday's 69-3 victory over Tonga.

England's other in-camp loosehead is Newcastle's Trevor Davison, who has 25 minutes' international experience under his belt as a replacement against the United States in July. Eddie Jones will decide on Tuesday whether to include him against Australia or draft in a replacement - possibly Mako Vunipola.

"We are having those conversations now," England's new defence coach Anthony Seibold told journalists. "A lot of the events happened overnight or late evening, so I haven't spoken to Joe, but I know he is being well taken care of. "Trevor has been in camp the whole time - that is a decision for Eddie and also Matt Proudfoot, our forwards coach. At the weekend we showed that we were able to handle that disruption and I have been really impressed with the way the group handled this morning and overnight."

As well as the "false positive" that ruled Farrell out of Saturday's game and forced a late reshuffle with George Furbank starting at flyhalf, a member of the backroom staff also tested positive last week. Seibold, whose background is in Australian rugby league, replaced John Mitchell last month. "I have really enjoyed my time so far - it's been really interesting working with the group and the coaching staff as well," he said.

"I have had a relationship with Eddie since probably 2017. I was head coach of the South Sydney Rabbitohs in the NRL and Eddie did some professional development learning with me and we stayed in contact. "We have had a relationship that has been going for four or five years now - a lot of shared learning. I am hopeful I have been able to pass on a couple of things to him that he has been able to take away.

"I've been super-impressed with the professionalism of staff and players and I have really enjoyed myself, but we know there are some bigger tests to come over the next couple of weeks." The first of those is Australia on Saturday, where England are seeking an eighth successive victory over the Wallabies - all under Jones - since they lost to them in the pool stage of the 2015 World Cup at Twickenham.

That surge of success has brought the teams level with 25 wins apiece, with one draw, from their 51 meetings.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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