Mar­ler back to face Aus­tralia but Kruis left out

Prop re­turns for Eng­land af­ter ban is chal­lenged Sim­monds ben­e­fits as Sara­cens lock sent home

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Rugby Union - Gavin Mairs RUGBY NEWS COR­RE­SPON­DENT

Joe Mar­ler has been fast-tracked back into the Eng­land squad to face Aus­tralia at Twick­en­ham on Satur­day af­ter com­plet­ing his three­week ban for strik­ing, al­though, sur­pris­ingly, there is no place for Sara­cens lock Ge­orge Kruis.

Kruis, who started in the vic­tory against Ar­gentina on Satur­day, has been left out of a 25-man squad – a de­ci­sion un­der­stood to have been based partly on con­di­tion­ing rea­sons and partly on form.

The omis­sion of Alex Lo­zowski, whose break cre­ated the de­ci­sive try for Semesa Roko­duguni against Ar­gentina, also ap­pears to sug­gest that Owen Far­rell will be in­volved this week­end af­ter be­ing rested, along with Maro Itoje, be­cause of Lions’ com­mit­ments.

Far­rell is one of only three squad mem­bers who can play in the fly­half or inside-cen­tre po­si­tion in the train­ing squad re­tained at Eng­land’s train­ing camp in Bagshot. Kruis and Lo­zowski were among nine re­leased to their clubs.

The de­ci­sion to leave out Kruis rep­re­sents an­other frus­trat­ing set­back in an in­jury-dis­rupted year for the 27-year-old, who had been one of the foun­da­tion stones of the Eng­land side un­der Ed­die Jones un­til he lost his place in the Bri­tish and Ir­ish Lions Test side fol­low­ing the open­ing de­feat by New Zealand.

Kruis’s omis­sion has al­lowed Jones to re­tain Sam Sim­monds, who made his Twick­en­ham de­but fol­low­ing the in­jury to Tom Curry, and his Ex­eter team-mate Char­lie Ewels in an ex­tended squad. Mar­ler is guar­an­teed to be in the 23-man match-day squad as one of six props named af­ter Ellis Genge was re­leased back to Le­ices­ter. His ban for hit­ting Wasps’ Will Row­lands with his arm dur­ing a Cham­pi­ons Cup match last month had ini­tially ruled him out of Eng­land’s Tests against Ar­gentina and Aus­tralia.

How­ever, the Har­lequins loose­head prop was able to re­join Jones’s squad on Sun­day night af­ter his club suc­cess­fully chal­lenged the terms of his sus­pen­sion.

Mar­ler, whose scrum­mag­ing tech­nique was ques­tioned by the Wal­la­bies dur­ing the 2015 World Cup, is now due to win his 52nd cap, and the 27-year-old’s re­turn will bring wel­come ex­pe­ri­ence to the for­ward con­test.

The dis­ci­plinary ap­peal hear­ing ruled he was free to re­turn to play on Mon­day, af­ter the LV Cup match against Sara­cens was taken into ac­count. Mar­ler had been left out of the Eng­land squad that trav­elled to Por­tu­gal for a warm-weather train­ing camp. With Kruis re­turn­ing to Sara­cens, the door has opened for Sim­monds to re­tain his place in the match-day squad.

Jonny May, the Le­ices­ter wing, is likely to be in­volved af­ter re­cov­er­ing from a ham­string in­jury. He could be named in a new-look back three, with Mike Brown strug­gling to be fit af­ter sus­tain­ing a head in­jury in the vic­tory over Ar­gentina.

Brown will stay in camp, de­spite the Har­lequins full-back be­ing un­likely to ap­pear on Satur­day as he goes through con­cus­sion pro­to­cols, with An­thony Wat­son poised to switch to full-back.

Itoje is also ex­pected to re­turn to ac­tion, but Jones is not ex­pected to fi­nalise his start­ing line-up un­til af­ter today’s dou­ble train­ing ses­sion.

Other play­ers who have been re­leased back to their clubs are Tom Dunn, Piers Fran­cis, Nick Isiekwe, Lo­zowski, Zach Mercer, Mar­cus Smith and Denny Solomona.

Chris Rob­shaw, the Eng­land flanker, is ex­pect­ing an in­crease in ur­gency in the squad af­ter the dis­ap­point­ing per­for­mance against Ar­gentina. “When­ever a side like that [Aus­tralia] comes to town it will al­ways be a chal­lenge,” he said.

“You look at the se­ries down there, it’s al­ways a tough game no mat­ter who comes out on top. There’s al­ways only a hand­ful of points be­tween the sides.”

Miss­ing out: Ge­orge Kruis has lost his place for rea­sons re­lat­ing both to fit­ness and form

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