ENGLAND PROP JOE Marler is expected to be available for selection for their Six Nations opener against France on Saturday just four weeks after fracturing his leg.

The Harlequins loosehead was expected to be absent for at least five weeks after suffering the injury on 7 January while warming up for an Aviva Premiership game against Sale.

England boss Eddie Jones had been planning without the 46-times capped prop for the opening two rounds of the Six Nations; Saturday’s visit of Les Bleus and the following weekend’s trip to Cardiff to play Wales at the Principality Stadium.

But England forwards coach Steve Borthwick today confirmed Marler’s recovery is going ahead of schedule and he is now back in contention for the clash with Guy Noves’s side.

“Joe is looking good and has been taking a full part in training,” Borthwick said of Marler, who returned to full training during a camp in Portugal last week.

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“He’s done really well, he has been incredibly diligent in terms of doing everything he can to get fit. That’s great credit to him.”

The news comes as a big boost for Jones, with loosehead Mako Vunipola almost certainly ruled out of the tournament with a knee problem.

Borthwick also revealed today that back rowers James Haskell (foot) and Jack Clifford (chest) have been cleared to play this weekend after proving their fitness.

Source: The42 Rugby Show/SoundCloud

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