Joe Marler to miss England’s Six Nations defence to be with family

Joe Marler has ruled himself out of England’s entire Guinness Six Nations title defence in order to be with his family during the coronavirus pandemic.

Marler has withdrawn three days after being named in Eddie Jones’ 28-man squad, leaving Ellis Genge as the only capped loosehead prop for the opener against Scotland on February 6.

And, in another significant blow to England, in-form Wasps second row Joe Launchbury will miss the first three rounds because of a broken leg.

The gaps in the squad have been filled by Wasps prop Tom West and Bath lock Charlie Ewels.

“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. Look forward to watching the team rip in. Go well Rose x,” Marler said on Twitter.