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England mainstay Joe Marler tests positive for Covid ahead of Australia clash

EXCLUSIVE: England’s preparations for their clash with Australia turn into chaos when prop Joe Marler tests positive for Covid-19 … just days after Captain Owen Farrell was forced to isolate himself with a false positive

  • England’s Joe Marler Tested Positive For Covid Ahead Of His Clash Against Australia
  • The Harlequins star is one of two stuntmen on Eddie Jones’ team
  • You will have a period of 10 days in isolation after positive lateral flow and PCR tests.
  • It comes after Owen Farrell went into isolation last week but the captain was a false positive

England’s preparations for the showdown with Australia on Saturday have been interrupted by another COVID setback as Joe Marler tested positive.

The veteran Harlequins mainstay came off the bench last weekend to replace Ellis Genge when the national team scored an emphatic 69-3 victory over Tonga.

He is one of only two loose head specialists on the team, but now he will miss the game against the Wallabies and spend a 10-day period in isolation after positive lateral flow and PCR tests.

England mainstay Joe Marler believed to have tested positive for Covid-19

England mainstay Joe Marler believed to have tested positive for Covid-19

This troubling development follows the COVID chaos late last week, when a staff member tested positive and then Owen Farrell did, forcing England’s captain to isolate himself. However, his sample was submitted for further laboratory examination and was deemed to have been a false positive, a verdict later upheld by the NHS Test and Trace.

After initial fears that he might not be able to play Australia, Farrell was cleared to rejoin the rest of the Red Rose team and is in line to lead the hosts in their 100th Test appearance. In his absence, Northampton winger George Furbank replaced the fly-half and performed well under difficult circumstances. His clubmate, Courtney Lawes, acted as the alternate captain and performed with distinction in the role.

Now head coach Eddie Jones will need additional coverage in the front row. Genge will retain the No. 1 jersey after his impressive outing in the fall opener, but it would take another loose head to underestimate the Leicester captain. The emergency could provide a quick route back to the squad for Mako Vunipola, as one of the exiled and seasoned Saracen contingents with a point to prove.

The RFU has repeatedly emphasized that they strictly adhere to all government guidelines regarding their COVID protocols and testing processes. Following his team’s victory over Tonga, Jones highlighted the ongoing need to adapt as the pandemic remains a threat to plans.

“We have no idea how long this COVID situation is going to last and we are going to have more situations like this,” he said. “So the ability of the players to remain calm is important.” His team stayed calm and adjusted well last weekend, but they hope to avoid a significant disruption this week, before taking on the dangerous Wallabies.