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England's Joe Marler withdraws from Six Nations for personal reasons

Eddie Jones has also lost experienced lock Joe Launchbury to injury.

Marler will not be part of England's Six Nations campaign.
Marler will not be part of England's Six Nations campaign.
Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

ENGLAND WILL BE without Joe Marler for the 2021 Six Nations, with the Harlequins prop pulling out for personal reasons.

Wasps lock Joe Launchbury will also miss out on the championship due to injury.

Eddie Jones will be without the pair of highly-experienced forwards as England get their campaign underway with the visit of Scotland to Twickenham on Saturday 6 February.

72-times capped Marler has withdrawn from the England squad for personal reasons, opting against heading into the ‘bubble’ required due to Covid-19 restrictions.

“Always grateful for the opportunity so not an easy decision, but want to do right by my family in these crazy times and won’t be meeting up with the squad for this tournament,” wrote Marler on Twitter. “Look forward to watching the team rip in. Go well.”

Launchbury has been ruled out due to a stress fracture in his leg.

England boss Jones has called up Wasps loosehead prop Tom West and Bath lock Charlie Ewels to replace Marler and Launchbury as England get set to gather for Six Nations camp from this Wednesday onwards.

Jones is currently in self-isolation, as is attack coach Simon Amor, after England forwards coach Matt Proudfoot tested positive for Covid-19. All three are set to miss the start of England’s training camp as a result.

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Meanwhile, Italy have confirmed their Six Nations squad but it doesn’t include fullback Matteo Minozzi, who withdrew and issued a statement to say he wasn’t ready to go into the national team’s bubble.

“I wanted to be honest with Franco [Smith, the Italy head coach] and with all the Italian supporters who believe in me and love me: I’m physically and mentally tired, a bit too much to live in a bubble for another two months,” wrote Minozzi on Instagram.

“I hope even if you can’t support it, you’ll understand my choice. I will cheer for my team-mates like I always do and wish my team-mates and all the staff the best of luck. I can’t decide if and when I return, but I hope I’ll be given the opportunity. Come on Italy.”

- This article was updated at 2.59pm to correct the nature of Launchbury’s injury. 

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Murray Kinsella

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