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Marler poised for England return

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England's Joe Marler set to come out of Test retirement - reports

Joe Marler’s selection in the England elite player squad this summer could pave the way for him to return to the international fold in time for the World Cup in Japan. 

The Harlequins prop quit Test rugby last September, claiming that after 59 caps he was struggling mentally with the long spells in camp and on tour away from his family.

Marler’s wife Daisy has since given birth to their third child – Felix Blue – last week, but it is now being reported by The Times in London that selection in the elite players squad will be a first step back towards battling for a place at the finals in Japan. 

Loosehead has become a hot topic in English rugby circles following the injury picked up by first-choice Mako Vunipola when playing for Saracens in last month’s Champions Cup final. 

He is expected to be sidelined for three months, opening the door for other contenders to stake a Test squad claim.  

Ben Moon, Ellis Genge and Alec Hepburn are touted as the leading contenders to step-up for the warm-up friendlies which commence against Wales in August, but there is now momentum behind a return for Marler who played for the Barbarians at the start of June in their fixture against an England XV at Twickenham.  

Marler admitted at that time he could be tempted into a Test return if an SOS scenario arose. “I wouldn’t be able to just walk up and just immerse myself in it all again,” he said before reportedly having the change of heart reported by The Times.

“Boys have been f**king grafting for years. Not only has Mako been brilliant, but the boys who came in stepped up and proved their worth there. For the whole 12-18 months they have been doing that, if someone turned around and went, ‘Alright I’ll come along even though I have done no work, done nothing’, that is disrespectful.

“If it was an SOS scenario it would definitely be something I’d consider but they’re not in an SOS scenario. Mako will be sweet, they’ve got Ben Moon, Ellis Genge and Alec Hepburn. They’ll go well.”

WATCH: Joe Marler speaks to The Rugby Pod about his reasons for walking away from international rugby with England

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England's Joe Marler set to come out of Test retirement - reports