Joe Marler has resumed training with England today ahead of the Guinness Six Nations Calcutta Cup clash on Saturday at BT Murrayfield.
Marler was isolating from Covid-19 for the second time, having previously tested positive in November, after a positive test on January 25, but in line with Government guidelines is back in training at Pennyhill Park.
Eddie Jones is not without difficulties ahead of the Championship, with Marler’s Harlequins teammate Joe Marchant also isolating after his positive test on Friday.
While Courtney Lawes remains out with concussion and Jones suffered three major pre-tournament blows, as Owen Farrell, Jonny May and Anthony Watson are all ruled out for the duration of the Guinness Six Nations.
The news of Marler’s return could not be timelier, as England face a buoyant Scotland at BT Murrayfield looking to repeat their heroics from a year ago when they ended a 38-year drought at Twickenham.
The 31-year-old’s experience will be vital, in a game that is due to be heavily contested at the set-piece, especially with the weather forecast suggesting heavy rain.
The potential battle with Zander Fagerson is one to make any rugby fan’s mouth water, as two of Europe’s best props go head-to-head on the opening day of the Championship.
Marler, who has 74 England caps, faces competition from Leicester Tigers captain Ellis Genge and Sale Sharks’ Bevan Rodd, who impressed in the Autumn Nations Series.
But with him coming back into the squad as early as Tuesday, Jones will be delighted to have three fit looseheads heading to Edinburgh, as he looks to avenge the 11-6 defeat from a year ago.
It presents another selection headache for Jones, who already has to contend with who starts at fly-half between Marcus Smith and George Ford, while his centre pairing is also unclear with Manu Tuilagi out and Marchant a doubt.
Meanwhile, Scotland were forced into a change of their own in the front row, as London Irish’s Allan Dell was called into the squad to replace the injured Jamie Bhatti, while back-rower Josh Bayliss will not join up with the squad as of yet, as he recovers from concussion.
There was good news for Gregor Townsend though, as last year’s Championship top try scorer Duhan van der Merwe joined up with the squad alongside Kyle Rowe.