England will be without prop Joe Marler for the Australia tour after the Harlequins forward opted to take a break from the sport to help address his disciplinary problems. The 25-year-old has been warned over his conduct by coach Eddie Jones after receiving bans for abusing Wales' Samson Lee and kicking Grenoble hooker Arnaud Héguy and has been receiving psychological counselling to help deal with bouts of aggression.
Marler was included in the 26-man provisional squad for the three-Test tour of Australia, preceded by a warm-up match against Wales at Twickenham on 29 May, and had been training in Brighton this week. The loose head has endured a disrupted season since playing a key role in England's victory in the grand slam and the Six Nations, with two separate suspensions for in-play indiscretions.
To help address these issues, Marler has sought help from former England cricketer-turned sport psychologist Jeremy Snape to assist him curb his aggression which had been sparked by his the country's premature exit from the Rugby World Cup. But the tour Down Under comes too soon for the forward who will remain at home in order to conquer his demons.
"It has been a very enjoyable but sometimes difficult season," said Marler. "After speaking to Eddie in Brighton I have decided that the best thing for me is to take a rest and not go to Australia. Whenever you play for England you have to be 100% and unfortunately I'm not in that place at the moment. It's not a decision I've come to lightly, but I feel I would be letting my teammates and my country down if I were to tour.
"I think a short rest will really help me recharge my batteries so I can start next season with the energy and focus that's needed to perform at the highest level. I wish my team mates the very best in Australia in what is a hugely exciting and challenging series for England."
Jones, who is ambitiously aiming for a whitewash series win over Australia, added: "Joe played brilliantly during the Six Nations and he will be a big loss in Australia. Joe knows better than anyone what it takes to be part of a winning international team and he obviously doesn't feel like he's quite there at the moment.
"We fully support Joe's difficult decision and admire his honesty. He's a young man with a very bright future. There's no doubt in my mind he'll use this time wisely and come back feeling refreshed and ready to be part of England again."
England face Australia in a three-match tour for the first time in a century later this summer. The series starts in Brisbane on 11 June, before matches at Melbourne on 18 June and Sydney on 25 June complete the contest for the Cook Cup.