Joe Marler has completed a remarkable recovery from a fractured leg to take his place at loosehead prop in England’s Six Nations opener against France.

Eastbourn-born Marler completed Harlequins’ defeat at Worcester on New Year’s Day despite breaking a bone in his lower leg and, having initially been diagnosed with a mere calf injury, he was picked to play Sale a week later.

The extent of the damage became clear during the warm-up, however, and he was ruled out for up to five weeks, effectively ending his involvement in the opening two rounds of the Six Nations.

But having drunk over six gallons of milk to acclerate his recovery, he has proved he is ready for Twickenham on Saturday.

“Just two pints of milk a day," revealed Marler as he explained his quickfire return.

“I always thought that green top was good for you because it’s reduced fat, but they gave me license to have blue top and the odd day I would have that gold top stuff, the one which has like 1,000 calories.

"But blue top has been really good for me.

“Your Mum always said milk is really good for you, and you don’t believe it until you really need it – because you’ve got a broken leg apparently – so I just drunk loads of that.

“I’m not putting it all on that, I will put it on [physio] Phil Pask as well. But it has helped.”

The front row has a big Sussex presence with Marler packing down next to former Crowborough and Sussex Colt Dylan Hartley.

Joe Launchbury, the former Christ’s Hospital, Horsham, pupil, is reinstated to the second row alongside Courtney Lawes following George Kruis’ injury with Maro Itoje making a first start at blindside flanker for shoulder-injury victim Chris Robshaw.