Joe Marler and James Haskell will both be available to Eddie Jones when the England head coach selects his side next week for the trip to Edinburgh to take on Scotland.
Both players are now back from suspensions they received at club level. Marler served his ban for a dangerous clearout on TJ Ioane in his side’s narrow 30-29 loss to Sale Sharks at the AJ Bell Stadium at the beginning of January.
Haskell was suspended for a huge late tackle on Jamie Roberts in the Champions Cup early last month and now both players are back in the England reckoning.
Discipline, of course, is not only important to Jones but to all international head coaches so it is important that a message is delivered to the aforementioned duo that their behaviour is not acceptable.
As a result, Jones dished out some punishment and Marler admits that it was completely warranted.
“It is awful [missing out] because there is no being managed in order to peak for Saturday,” Marler said. “We [Marler and Haskell] have been up at the crack of dawn and just flogged. Rightly so, a little bit as a punishment.”
Jones has decided that the players will room together in camp and both players have been in the training squad despite being unavailable for the last two weeks. Even though Marler was involved in training during the week, he reveals that it was really difficult to watch the Wales match on television at the weekend.
“I got home for the last five minutes,” Marler said. “It is my favourite fixture – England v Wales, the game I love playing in and I was gutted not being part of it. Watching the last five minutes, kicking the kids and the wife out of the lounge, I was like: ‘You need to leave, I need to watch the telly.’”
“That sticks with me. I really need to knuckle down now because I’m missing out on things I really want to be a part of.”
Marler will probably make the bench for the Scotland game next weekend as Alec Hepburn was released this week to play for the Exeter Chiefs but one thing is for certain, Jones will not tolerate any further indiscretions from the loosehead prop, especially when the stakes are at their highest in the Six Nations.