England boss Eddie Jones has picked controversial prop Joe Marler as the person he would least like to be stuck with in isolation during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Harlequins prop, who came out of retirement to win a place in the 2019 World Cup squad, was handed a ten-week ban for a recent incident at Twickenham. 

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Marler was cited after he allegedly grabbed the genitals of Wales skipper Alun Wyn Jones in the opening half of a Guinness Six Nations game that England went on to win 33-30 in early March. Thanks to the lockdown period, Marler will have served his ban by the time rugby is given the green light to start up again.

Having supported Marler strongly throughout his many disciplinary and personal issues, Jones admitted he wouldn’t fancy spending a prolonged period on his own with the bearded forward. 

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Jones told Ugo Monye on #QuaranteamTalk that if he wasn’t allowed to be in isolation with his wife, it would be their dog Annie he would wish to be with “because she always wags her tail. Who I couldn’t be in isolation with? Joe Marler. That is self-evident. As much as I love him, I wouldn’t want to be in isolation with that guy.”

Jones also revealed the match he would always want the chance to replay would be the 2019 World Cup final which South Africa beaten England 32-12 in last year in Japan. This is despite losing the 2003 final with Australia to a Jonny Wilkinson drop goal in extra-time. 

“It will always be the 2019 World Cup final and it still hurts today. If we started that game a little bit better, a little more precision and more fire in our bellies, who knows what the result would have been. They [South Africa] were too good on the day and that is the game you would like to replay.”

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Jones is currently hunkered down on Okinawa island in Japan having headed there with his wife to see her family and he may have to face a two-week isolation whenever he returns to his Surrey home. 

He is taking a philosophical approach to the restrictions imposed by the pandemic. “These are the periods, particularly if you have been involved in sport, that if you can fight through this period you know that at the end of the tunnel at the other end will be something good. 

“Everyone just has to look at the fact we have to work together now and it’s a case of people being disciplined in their lives being disciplined in terms of following order and if we get through this we are going to be a stronger society in terms of the whole world.”

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