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Fans question Six Nations feasibility, rally behind Joe Marler following his 'totally understandable' decision

By Online Editors

Trending on RugbyPass

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Representing your nation is generally considered the pinnacle of any sport – it’s an honour and a luxury awarded to few, and one that’s typically accepted with both hands.

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These are not typical times, however, and England prop Joe Marler has done what some would consider unthinkinable by turning down the opportunity to play test football.

While Marler was initially named in the England squad to contest the 2021 Six Nations, he subsequently withdrew himself from the team, with the 66-test prop taking to social media to explain his decision.

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Eddie Jones spoke to the media after revealing his 28 man squad for the upcoming Six Nations.

With the COVID-19 pandemic having a major impact throughout the UK, Marler is understandably resistant to ‘expand his bubble’ to include his England teammates from across the country.

While there are, of course, vocal minorities who suggest that the pandemic is a storm in a teacup, Marler is choosing to prioritise his family’s health and, in somewhat of a surprising but heart-warming twist, the occupants of Twitter have come out in support of the 30-year-old’s decision.

Marler initially retired from the international game in 2018 but was coaxed back into the national set-up by Eddie Jones in the lead-up to the 2010 Rugby World Cup.

The England prop isn’t the only player to remove himself from the Six Nations selection equation, with Italy and Wasps fullback Matteo Minozzi also taking himself out of consideration.

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While fans were understanding of Marler’s situation, many also expressed concern that the Six Nations is going ahead at all, with France, Italy and Ireland all experiencing similarly high infection rates at present.

The Six Nations is set to kick off on February 6, with Italy hosting France and England hosting Scotland. With Marler removing himself from the squad and Manu Vunipola absent through injury, Jones will be on the lookout for some test-quality loosehead props to fill the void left by their absences.

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Fans question Six Nations feasibility, rally behind Joe Marler following his 'totally understandable' decision

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