Owen Farrell England team news: Joe Marler a late doubt for Rugby World Cup opener against Tonga

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Joe Marler has emerged as a concern for England’s opening Rugby World Cup clash against Tonga after missing their Thursday afternoon training session.

Sources close to the squad confirmed that Marler did not train with the rest of the team on Thursday afternoon, with the Harlequins prop instead joining injured duo Jack Nowell and Mako Vunipola in a low-intensity sprint session. The 29-year-old did not emerge for the start of England’s training session in Sapporo, and when he did finally appear he remained separated from the rest of the squad, raising serious concerns over his fitness ahead of Sunday’s clash.

With Vunipola already ruled out of the opening pool games against Tonga and the USA, the loss of Marler would leave England short on options at loosehead prop, with only Ellis Genge available to start. Luke Cowan-Dickie, the Exeter Chiefs hooker, would be able to cover loosehead if needed having played there when he was younger.

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It is not known why Marler sat out training, though England did train earlier in the day as Thursday was Eddie Jones’s designated double-session day.

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