England v South Africa: Harlequins’ Marler set to miss Springboks clash

England v South Africa: Stuart Lancaster reveals Harlequins loose-head Joe Marler looks set to miss the Springboks clash

Alex Corbisiero
Alex Corbisiero could replace Joe Marler for the South Africa Test Photo: The Sport Review

Alex Corbisiero

Stuart Lancaster has revealed Harlequins loose-head Joe Marler looks almost certain to miss England’s clash against South Africa at Twickenham on Saturday.

The 22-year-old picked up a “grade one medial collateral ligament tear” in the Red Rose’s 20-14 loss to Australia, but Lancaster is optimistic Alex Corbisiero could replace Marler in his side, with the London Irish star recovering from a knee problem.

“We will potentially freshen things up with one or two changes,” said Lancaster.

“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.”

Although Lancaster refused to critcise England’s decision-making in the defeat by Australia, the Red Rose head coach did admit he would address certain issues which came from their second autumn international.

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

“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.”

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