Joe Marler rocks England’s World Cup plans with international retirement

first_img … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Share on LinkedIn Rugby union Hartley has not played for England since mid-March, having taken an extended break to recover fully from concussion, and missed the summer tour series defeat in South Africa. He is now back playing club rugby again and a recent chat with the cricketer Alastair Cook, a Northampton Saints follower, has persuaded him there is still more he can achieve. The pair have spoken following Cook’s remarkable farewell performance against India at the Oval and it would appear Hartley has been suitably inspired.“I talked to him the other day,” the 32-year-old said. “Not about retirement, although naturally the conversation did head that way about him. Some of the things he said to me made me think I’m still in a good place professionally and with sport.”Hartley took nothing for granted at England’s training camp in Bristol this week. His team’s first autumn Test against the Springboks at Twickenham is barely five weeks away and the World Cup clock is starting to tick loudly. He believes his concussion problems are history.“I had six months between games and the advice, the research and the feeling I had was fine. A new perspective is always good. I’ve still got the desire to be involved in something good.” Robert Kitson Share on Pinterest Since you’re here… Share on Facebook Share on Messenger Topics Read more Joe Marler has dropped a bombshell by retiring from England duty less than 12 months before the World Cup. The Harlequins prop has cited spending time with his young family as a key reason, stating he is unable to give all of himself to the England cause.The 28-year-old, who has won 59 caps, informed Eddie Jones of his intentions shortly before the England squad camp in Bristol this week before pulling out because of personal reasons and has played his last match for the national team. Share on Twitter “It is an incredible commitment to play rugby for England and I strongly believe that if you are unable to give yourself fully to it then it is time to step away,” he said. “Otherwise it would not be fair on the team, or my family. Being with England you have to spend an incredible amount of time away and I could not do that any more.”Marler missed Jones’s first summer tour in charge of England – to Australia in 2016 – and later said he withdrew because of physical and mental exhaustion. He explained that he had been struggling to focus on his game after his £20,000 fine from World Rugby for his “Gipsy Boy” comment made to the Wales prop Samson Lee.“Whenever you play for England you have to be 100% and unfortunately I’m not in that place,” he said at the time. “I would be letting my teammates and country down if I were to tour.”His decision to withdraw from England duty permanently is a blow for Jones, considering Marler’s experience and his reliability in providing back-up to Mako Vunipola. Marler has made 23 appearances under the Australian and was part of the British & Irish Lions tour of New Zealand in 2017. “Now is the time to walk away and get some new blood in the team. And I am looking forward to being able to give my wife and children more of my time,” he said. “I will always be grateful for the memories playing for my country has given me.” England rugby union team Harlequins Support The Guardian In the short term, Jones’s loosehead options for the autumn internationals behind Vunipola are severely limited with Leicester’s Ellis Genge out with a shoulder injury. Alec Hepburn is another while his uncapped Exeter teammate Ben Moon was called into this week’s squad to replace Marler.Jones said: “Joe is a great player and team member so I am disappointed and we will miss him. But he has made his decision on personal grounds and we understand his reasoning. He’s a good guy – an honest, mature person who understands the demands of the game and the demands of family life. I have got to admire his honesty and the way he has gone about this.”Marler has been among the more vocal senior internationals to discuss the increasing demands on modern players and in April 2017, addressing plans to trim the duration of the Six Nations to six weeks, he told the Guardian: “If we lost a rest week – I think it’s ridiculous. If boys are playing 11 months and getting a four- or five‑week break their bodies, and mentally… it’s not that you’re bored but it’s like: ‘Christ, this is a slog now.’”During the Six Nations this year he was banned for England’s first two matches against Italy and Wales and talked of knuckling down because “I’m missing out on things I really want to be part of”. He has since had a change of heart and, like his fellow loosehead Alex Corbisiero, his England career comes to a premature end.Hartley heartened by Cook chatTiger Woods’s comeback may have grabbed more headlines but Dylan Hartley is trying his best to ensure a similar happy ending. With less than a year until the 2019 Rugby World Cup, England’s fit-again captain is determined to go to Japan as his country’s first-choice hooker and to make a significant Test return this autumn. Warren Gatland ‘bricking’ himself over attempts to go out on a high with Wales Read more news The Breakdown: sign up and get our weekly rugby union email. Share via Email Share on WhatsApp RFU ‘perplexed’ at Agustín Pichot’s attempts to reform rugby calendar Reuse this contentlast_img

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