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'Now is the time to walk away' - England prop Joe Marler retires from international rugby

The Harlequins forward said it was “a very difficult decision” to end his England career at the age of 28.

Joe Marler in acton for England.
Joe Marler in acton for England.
Image: EMPICS Sport

ENGLAND PROP JOE Marler has retired from international rugby in order to spend more time with his family.

Harlequins forward Marler withdrew from an England training camp last weekend due to personal reasons.

The 28-year-old, who has won 59 caps for his country and featured for the British and Irish Lions in the drawn series with New Zealand last year, has now called time on his Test career.

“It has been an honour and a privilege to represent my country and of course this has been a very difficult decision to make, but I have decided to retire from playing international rugby with immediate effect to spend more time with my family,” said Marler.

“It is an incredible commitment to play rugby for England and I strongly believe that if you are unable to give yourself fully to it then it is time to step away.

Provincial Union XV v British and Irish Lions - Toll Stadium Marler featured for the Lions during last summer's drawn series in New Zealand. Source: David Davies

“Otherwise it would not be fair on the team, or my family. Being with England you have to spend an incredible amount of time away and I could not do that anymore.

“So now is the time to walk away and get some new blood in the team and I am looking forward to being able to give my wife and children more of my time.

“I would like to thank everyone at England for the opportunities that I have been given. I will always be grateful for the memories playing for my country has given me.”

England head coach Eddie Jones said Marler will be sorely missed with the World Cup to come next year.

“I’m very disappointed for the team,” Jones stated. “Joe has been an integral member since 2015 when I arrived, and obviously before that also.

“In my era we’ve really enjoyed him playing for the team, he is an honest, hard-working player. He has made a decision based on personal grounds and we understand his reasoning. He is a good guy and we will miss him greatly.”

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