Rugby World Cup: England's Joe Marler targets August return

By Chris JonesBBC Radio 5 live
England prop Joe Marler
England prop Joe Marler has been England's first-choice loose-head for the past year

England prop Joe Marler says he hopes to be fit to feature in England's World Cup warm-up games in August.

The Harlequins captain has not played since injuring a shoulder in April.

The 24-year-old - England's first-choice loose-head in the Six Nations - had surgery in May.

"It's been four weeks post-op now so it's full-on with the rehab and trying to get back fit," he told BBC Sport, adding that playing in the warm-up matches "is the plan".

England's first warm-up game is against France at Twickenham on 15 August, when Marler hopes to add to his 31 caps.

"The shoulder is a three-to-four-month time-span before I'm back fully fit," he explained.

"But come 22 June when we meet up with the team I should be able to do most things and should be able to put my hand up for selection there."

If Marler is unavailable, Saracens' Mako Vunipola is the next in the pecking order, while British and Irish Lion Alex Corbisiero and Wasps' Matt Mullan have also been named in the 50-man training squad.

England are due to meet at their Pennyhill Park base in June before travelling to a United States training camp in Denver, Colorado in July.

Stuart Lancaster's team face France again in Paris on 22 August before taking on Ireland on 5 September at Twickenham in their other two warm-up matches before beginning their World Cup campaign against Fiji at Twickenham on 18 September.