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Joe Marler is OUT of Australia match after a positive Covid test

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Pablo Morano/MB Media/Getty Images)

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The Covid-19 issues that affected Eddie Jones’ England camp last weekend haven’t yet disappeared as replacement loosehead Joe Marler has now tested positive for the virus and has been ruled out of selection to face Australia at Twickenham next Saturday. It was last Thursday when it first emerged that the England squad bubble had been breached in the run-up to the start of their three-game Autumn Nation Series.

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It was that morning, on the day of the team selection announcement versus Tonga, that it was confirmed a staff member had tested positive and was in isolation. That development resulted in additional testing taking place and it then emerged on Friday morning that skipper Owen Farrell had also tested positive.

That finding resulted in Farrell missing last Saturday’s match versus Tonga, but he was allowed to come out of isolation and resume training to face the Wallabies after it was determined that the test result was a false positive and that the captain had not contracted the virus.

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However, his release from isolation hasn’t coincided with a clean bill of health for the remainder of the squad as the RFU confirmed on Tuesday lunchtime that Marler was now out of the picture to take on Australia.

A media statement read: “Joe Marler has tested positive for Covid and will be unavailable for selection for England for this weekend’s Test match against Australia. After returning a positive lateral flow test on Monday evening, he immediately went into isolation.

“A subsequent PCR test taken on Monday evening confirmed the result on Tuesday morning. He will now isolate for ten days, as per government guidelines.

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“All of the England players and staff have undergone additional lateral flow testing – all of which returned negative results.  Additional PCR testing has also taken place and are awaiting results. The squad has trained on Tuesday morning as they prepare for the game at Twickenham on Saturday.”

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