England coach Stuart Lancaster expects to be without Joe Marler for Saturday’s QBE international against South Africa after the Harlequins prop suffered a knee ligament injury.
Marler is set to be replaced in the match-day squad by Alex Corbisiero, who has made two starts for London Irish over the last fortnight after recovering from a knee injury of his own.
The potential change at loose-head prop is one of a number Lancaster is considering as England aim to bounce back from their 20-14 defeat to Australia. Tom Wood appears a likely starter at blindside flanker, while London Irish centre Jonathan Joseph has also come back into the equation after shaking off an ankle injury.
Lancaster said: “We will potentially freshen things up with one or two changes. We have players on the return – Alex played 75 minutes yesterday and Jonathan Joseph played. Joe Marler has a grade one MCL so it is likely he won’t be available for Saturday. 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.”
Geoff Parling, Tom Palmer, Manu Tuilagi, Charlie Sharples and Tom Youngs all sat out training yesterday with “bumps and bruises as opposed to anything too serious” from the weekend.