Rugby

Marler set to miss Bok Test

2012-11-19 19:58
Joe Marler (Getty Images)

London - England coach Stuart Lancaster expects to be without prop Joe Marler for Saturday's match against South Africa after the Harlequins front row suffered a knee injury during the defeat by Australia.

Marler, who has a medial cruciate ligament problem, is set to be replaced in England's match-day 23 by Alex Corbisiero, who has made two starts for London Irish over the last two weeks after recovering from a knee injury of his own.

But it is not only at loosehead prop where England coach Stuart Lancaster is considering changes to his side following last Saturday's 20-14 loss to the Wallabies at Twickenham.

London Irish centre Jonathan Joseph and Northampton flanker Tom Wood could also come into contention as Lancaster seeks a first win as England coach against one of rugby's big three (South Africa, Australia and New Zealand) after the Wallaby reverse followed two defeats and a draw on tour against the Springboks earlier this year.

"We will potentially freshen things up with one or two changes," Lancaster said on Monday. "We have players on the return - Alex played 75 minutes yesterday (Sunday) 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."

England held a review session earlier on Monday where their decisions in opting against going for goal with several kickable penalties were examined and attention paid to South Africa, 21-10 winners over Scotland at Murrayfield last Saturday.

"We have to take what we can out of the (Australia) 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 line-out 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."

Read more on:    england  |  springboks  |  rugby
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