England free of more positive COVID cases

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England have encountered no further coronavirus setbacks following Joe Marler's positive test that has ruled him out of Saturday's showdown with Australia.

The Rugby Football Union has reported all playing and backroom staff who underwent an additional round of PCR testing after Marler's confirmed case have produced negative results.

Eddie Jones will breathe a sigh of relief at the news which means disruption for the Wallabies clash is limited to finding a replacement for just Marler on the bench.

The Harlequins prop played 14 minutes of the 69-3 victory over Tonga that launched the autumn, providing loosehead cover for first choice in the position Ellis Genge.

While the outcome of the PCR testing will be welcomed, England are still facing a second weekend of disruption because of COVID.

Captain Owen Farrell missed the Tonga clash after returning a positive test only for reanalysis of the sample to reveal it was a false-positive.

Now cleared to play, Farrell is likely to be restored at flyhalf against the Wallabies while the vacancy created by Marler's absence has seen Bevan Rodd called up with the Sale prop set to make his debut against Australia.

Jones' hand has been forced by the presence of only two specialist looseheads in the squad, Genge and Marler.

Newcastle's Trevor Davison can fill the position but is seen primarily as a tighthead.

In an attempt to limit any further setbacks, all 34 players in Jones' autumn squad - including those not selected against Australia - are remaining in camp for the whole week.

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