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Injury-hit England get much needed Joe Marler boost

By PA
(Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

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The troubled England build-up to their Guinness Six Nations opener against Scotland has eased slightly after Joe Marler was cleared to rejoin the squad. Marler tested positive for Covid a week ago, threatening his involvement in Saturday’s trip to Murrayfield, but he has now left self-isolation.

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Crucially, it enables the veteran prop to take part in Tuesday’s full-bore training session that is influential in team selection. England still have Joe Marchant in self-isolation after the versatile back tested positive on Friday to place his participation against Scotland in serious doubt.

Flanker Courtney Lawes remains the biggest injury concern due to the concussion he sustained playing for Northampton against Ulster on January 16. The likely replacement to ankle surgery-victim Owen Farrell as skipper has yet to pass the return to play protocols and is running out of time to prove his fitness.

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England also have concerns over lock Jonny Hill because of a foot injury, while wings Jonny May and Anthony Watson have been ruled out of the entire Six Nations.

It is hoped that centre Manu Tuilagi and flanker Sam Underhill will play some part in the tournament following their respective hamstring and concussion issues.

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