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Harlequins prop Joe Marler expected to miss England’s clash with South Africa

Harlequins' Joe Marler. Photo credit: David Davies/PA wire Harlequins' Joe Marler. Photo credit: David Davies/PA wire

Monday, November 19, 2012
2:52 PM

England coach Stuart Lancaster expects to be without Joe Marler for Saturday’s QBE international against South Africa after the Harlequins prop suffered a knee ligament injury.

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Marler is set to be replaced in the match-day squad by Alex Corbisiero, who has made two starts for London Irish over the last fortnight after recovering from a knee injury of his own.

The potential change at loose-head prop is one of a number Lancaster is considering as England aim to bounce back from their 20-14 defeat to Australia.

Tom Wood appears a likely starter at blindside flanker while London Irish centre Jonathan Joseph has also come back into the equation after shaking an ankle injury.

Lancaster said: “We will potentially freshen things up with one or two changes. We have players on the return - Alex played 75 minutes yesterday and Jonathan Joseph played.

“Joe Marler has a grade one MCL so it is likely he won’t be available for Saturday. He’d be out of the equation I think. Alex Corbisiero would come back into the equation for him.

“The selection for South Africa will be based on a variety of things. First and foremost the challenge of South Africa, their physicality and the performances they have been putting in on this tour.”

Geoff Parling, Tom Palmer, Manu Tuilagi, Charlie Sharples and Tom Youngs all sat out training today with “bumps and bruises as opposed to anything too serious” from the weekend.

England held a review session this morning, in which the key decisions not to kick penalties for goal were analysed and the focus shifted to the Springboks.

“We have to take what we can out of the game,” Lancaster said.

“We talked about all the decisions made in the game. I will support the players in their decision because it is a real-time decision.

“But we have to make sure we get those decisions correct. Did we get them all right? There are some that have been reviewed but I won’t criticise the players for having a mindset to win the game.

“There were plenty of opportunities to win it. We were in the game with less than five minutes to go but the reality is we didn’t win it.

“The game was not as black and white as everyone makes out. The Australia coaches said to me afterwards that that was as good as they have played.

“And until that truck-and-trailer lineout with five minutes to go we were in with a chance of winning. We need to make sure we get that accuracy and decision-making right.

“We pushed them to the line but we didn’t get across the line and that is the disappointing them because we believed we could win the game.

“We can’t feel sorry for ourselves. We have to roll out sleeves up and get stuck into South Africa.”

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