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:
If Eddie Jones wasn't already planning on tapping up Joe Marler for the RWC….
— Alex Lowe (@AlexMLowe) May 17, 2019
Can anyone name me a better English scrummaging loose head then Marler?
— Paul Williams (@thepaulwilliams) May 17, 2019
Mako Vunipola could be touch and go for the World Cup. Set to be out for at least three months with the hamstring injury sustained early on in the Champions Cup final against Leinster. SOS to Joe Marler?
— matthew hobbs (@MBHReporter) May 17, 2019
Odds on Marler shortening…
— Phil J (@PhilJ0606) May 17, 2019
— Alexander Kelly (@alexanderkelly_) May 17, 2019
@JoeMarler we need you
— Taz Hayden (@waynetazhayden) May 17, 2019
Do we need to give Mr Marler a shout now?
— Matt Knight (@matt2knight) May 17, 2019
— Ben stack (@24stacky) May 17, 2019
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.
Sign up to our mailing list here and we’ll keep you up to the minute with weekly updates from the world of rugby.