Joe Marler, 59 caps, made his debut in 2012 against South Africa. Photo: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

LONDON – England prop Joe Marler has announced his retirement from international rugby at the age of 28 to spend more time with his family, the Rugby Football Union (RFU) said on Wednesday.

Marler won 59 caps for his country, having made his debut in 2012 against South Africa, and helped England win the Six Nations grand slam two years ago.

“It's been an honour and a privilege to represent my country and this has been a difficult decision to make, but I've decided to retire from playing international rugby with immediate effect to spend more time with my family,” Marler said.

“It's an incredible commitment to play rugby for England and I 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.”

Marler, who helped England claim back-to-back Six Nations titles in 2016 and 2017, played his final test against South Africa in June, where Eddie Jones' side won 25-10 in Cape Town.

Jones is set to name his squad next month for November tests against South Africa, New Zealand, Japan and Australia at Twickenham.

“I'm very disappointed for the team. Joe's been an integral member since 2015 when I arrived, and obviously before that also,” Jones said.

It's been an honour and a privilege to represent my country and this has been a difficult decision to make, said Marler. Photo: Lee Smith/Reuters
It's been an honour and a privilege to represent my country and this has been a difficult decision to make, said Marler. Photo: Lee Smith/Reuters

“In my era we've 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.”