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One option to replace Vunipola

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Drums beat louder for a former English prop to return to international rugby

After the news emerged that England and Saracens prop Mako Vunipola will require surgery on a torn hamstring, calls are being made on social media for Joe Marler to come out of international retirement before the World Cup.

Vunipola sustained his injury in the first half hour of Saracens’ Champions Cup triumph over Leinster in Newcastle on Saturday and is set to face three months out, with England flying out to Japan in four.

In light of this news, fans and journalists have been calling for Harlequins loosehead Marler to return to the international fray. The 59-cap England international called time on his test career at the beginning of the season, and has not turned back, despite England being in some desperate situations this season.

With Vunipola out during the Autumn, the door was opened for Exeter props Ben Moon and Alec Hepburn, as well as Leicester’s Ellis Genge, as England were stretched in that department. Up until then, both Vunipola and Marler were the two that had vied for the number one shirt under Eddie Jones.

When fit, Vunipola has been one of England’s best players this season, and arguably the best loosehead in the world. He was a nominee for the European Player of the Year award, and his absence was certainly noticed during the Six Nations after sustaining an injury in the second game. Despite his good form, he has been dogged by injuries, and he will face a race to be fit before the World Cup in September.

This is what has been said on Twitter after Vunipola’s injury:

It seems more than likely that Jones will at least try and tempt Marler to represent his country again at the World Cup, as these are encroaching on desperate times. Although both Moon and Genge stepped up superbly during the Six Nations, few would argue that Vunipola is not England’s best loosehead, and Marler still probably second best.

Nevertheless, with Vunipola set to miss England’s warm up matches before the World Cup, Jones would want to assess his options, and Marler’s return would be a timely boost and ease the pressure on England’s resources.

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Drums beat louder for a former English prop to return to international rugby