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Marler out, Murray in doubt, against All Blacks

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    27 Sep 2018     Getty Images

Firstly, England loosehead prop Joe Marlar has retired from international rugby and the second concerns Ireland and British & Irish Lions halfback Conor Murray.

Murray suffered a neck injury during Ireland's June tour of Australia and has not played since. There is doubt surrounding his availability for Ireland when they meet the All Blacks in November.

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Former All Blacks halfback Alby Mathewson has been signed by Murray's Munster club on a four-month contract to cover for the injured Murray.

But in a new development, Murray, who is set to become the highest paid rugby player in Ireland, has asked that his medical information be kept private.

While one report from Munster earlier in the week said Murray's neck problem was progressing well, another report quoted coach Johann van Graan as saying; "I can't comment on his injury. He's requested that his information remains confidential."

The move is part of a growing trend among players to protect their data and to prevent misinformation about their injury getting presented to the public.

It was also felt that players' negotiating positions with their international unions or foreign clubs could be weakened if their situation was made public.

Meanwhile, Marler, 28, who has 59 England caps, said he was retiring with immediate effect in order to spend more time with his family.

"It has been an honour and a privilege to represent my country and, of course, this has been a very difficult decision to make.
"It is an incredible commitment to play rugby for England and I strongly believe that if you are unable to give yourself fully to it then it is time to step away. Otherwise it would not be fair on the team, or my family.

"Being with England you have to spend an incredible amount of time away and I could not do that anymore," he said.

England coach Eddie Jones said he was disappointed for the England team.

"Joe has been an integral member since 2015 when I arrived, and obviously before that also.

"In my era we're really enjoyed him playing for the team, he is an honest, hard-working player. He has made a decision based on personal grounds and we understand his reasoning. He is a good guy and we will miss him greatly," he said.