The Harlequins loosehead prop, who had started all four of England’s matches so far in the championship, had been named to start in Rome, but the squad flew to Rome without him.
We have prepared for being without Joe and we have no doubt Mako will slot straight in and perform
The Rugby Football Union confirmed last night that Marler had not travelled with the squad with Saracens’s Mako Vunipola promoted from the bench to take his place with London Wasps’s Matt Mullan drafted in as cover.
“It is important that Joe is with his partner at this exciting time,” England head coach, Stuart Lancaster said. “Family must always come first and everyone in the squad wishes them well.
“We have prepared for being without Joe and we have no doubt Mako will slot straight in and perform, as will Matt Mullan should he get an opportunity.
“Matt played in the autumn internationals. There’s no problem with him; he’s been involved right throughout the campaign. He’s a good player to come on.”
Revised England XV: Mike Brown (Harlequins); Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs), Luther Burrell (Northampton Saints), Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester Rugby), Jonny May (Gloucester); Owen Farrell (Saracens), Danny Care (Harlequins); Mako Vunipola (Saracens), Dylan Hartley (Northampton), David Wilson (Bath), Joe Launchbury (London Wasps), Courtney Lawes (Northampton), Tom Wood (Northampton), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins, captain), Ben Morgan (Gloucester).
Replacements: Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers), Matt Mullan (Wasps), Henry Thomas (Sale Sharks), Dave Attwood (Bath), Tom Johnson (Exeter); Lee Dickson (Northampton), George Ford (Bath), Manu Tuilagi (Leicester).
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