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No reprieve for Mako as uncapped Rodd gets the England call up

By Liam Heagney

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Uncapped Sale loosehead Bevan Rodd has been called up to the England squad following the positive Covid test that will keep Joe Marler, a replacement in last weekend’s win over Tonga, in isolation for ten days. It was Tuesday morning when the RFU confirmed that Harlequins prop Marler had failed a test on Monday evening which resulted in a further round of testing for everyone in the camp. 

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This follow-up testing confirmed that Marler did indeed have a positive, unlike what happened last week when it was ultimately determined that the test result produced by skipper Owen Farrell was a false positive. That determination came too late, though, to make Farrell available to take his place versus the Tongans. 

With Marler now definitely ruled out, it left Eddie Jones with just two looseheads available for selection in his squad, vice-captain Ellis Genge, who started against Tonga, and Trevor Davison, the 29-year-old who won his sole Test cap as a sub last July versus the USA.  

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Jack Nowell lifts the lid on ‘New England’
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Jack Nowell lifts the lid on ‘New England’

There was speculation that Marler’s misfortune could prise the door open for Mako Vunipola, the starting loosehead in the 2019 World Cup final, to earn a recall to the squad. However, Jones has instead opted to look elsewhere despite Vunipola’s recent improved form with Saracens. 

Rodd was part of the England training squad that assembled in London for a mini-camp at the end of September and having missed out on the Autumn Nations Series squad announced on October 18, he is now in the mix for the remainder of the November schedule versus Australia this Saturday and the following weekend’s clash with the Springboks. 

England newcomer Rodd, 21, is a Scottish-born front-rower is a 21-year-old who has developed a reputation for celebrating Sale victories by dancing naked in the dressing room. Sharks boss Alex Sanderson explained last June: “I’m not allowed to talk about him getting naked because his grandma had a go at him about that post-match. But he doesn’t mind, he doesn’t mind getting his kit off and he is quite a good mover with it. He is quite handsome for a big lad. He is a bit of a talent. He is a rare talent for someone being as young as he is and being able to hold that side of the scrum up but it is his work around the field that sets him apart for front-rowers, for looseheads. 

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Whereas last week, Jones cut his squad from 34 to 28 on the Tuesday evening, releasing the likes of Sam Simmonds back to Exeter for weekend club duty, England have decided to keep all 34 players with them for the whole week leading into the match with the Wallabies in an attempt to limit any further setbacks with their safety bubble. The RFU confirmed on Wednesday morning that the latest round of test results have all come back negative.

ENGLAND SQUAD (vs Australia)
FORWARDS:
Jamie Blamire (Newcastle Falcons, 3 caps)
Callum Chick (Newcastle Falcons, 2 caps)
Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 34 caps)
Trevor Davison (Newcastle Falcons, 1 cap)
Nic Dolly (Leicester Tigers, uncapped)
Alex Dombrandt (Harlequins, 2 caps)
Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby, 24 caps)
Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 31 caps)
Jamie George (Saracens, 60 caps)
Jonny Hill (Exeter Chiefs, 10 caps)
Maro Itoje (Saracens, 49 caps)
Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 88 caps)
Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints, 10 caps)
George Martin (Leicester Tigers, 1 cap)
Bevan Rodd (Sale Sharks, uncapped)
Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs, 7 caps)
Kyle Sinckler (Bristol Bears, 45 caps)
Will Stuart (Bath Rugby, 13 caps)
Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby, 25 caps)
BACKS:
Mark Atkinson (Gloucester Rugby, 1 cap)
Owen Farrell (Saracens, 93 caps)
Tommy Freeman (Northampton Saints, uncapped)
George Furbank (Northampton Saints, 5 caps)
Max Malins (Saracens, 8 caps)
Joe Marchant (Harlequins, 6 caps)
Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby, 67 caps)
Alex Mitchell (Northampton Saints, 1 cap)
Raffi Quirke (Sale Sharks, uncapped)
Adam Radwan (Newcastle Falcons, 2 caps)
Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 41 caps)
Marcus Smith (Harlequins, 3 caps)
Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers, 3 caps)
Manu Tuilagi (Sale Sharks, 44 caps)
Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 110 caps)

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