Idiosyncratic Marler 'marches to the beat of his own drum'
SPOTLIGHT: England coach Eddie Jones feels there is more to Joe Marler than just the ‘class clown’ that people perceive him to be.
Jones says while Marler “likes to play the fool” he is an influential member of the England squad.
He was backing the prop in the wake of former England coach Clive Woodward’s outburst – in which he described his behaviour as “embarrassing” at the World Cup.
Woodward had compared Marler and Dan Cole to comedy duo Laurel and Hardy for their behaviour at a news conference ahead of the final against South Africa, which England lost 32-12.
However, Jones told Sky Sports that Marler was simply someone who marched to the beat of his own drum.
“He’s such an influential player in our team. Because he loves playing for England, he dedicates himself to being the best prop he can be,” he said.
“I’ve never seen a bloke strength train as hard as him consistently in all my time in rugby. And then he’s got certain idiosyncrasies. He likes to play the fool… but he’s a very intelligent guy, great family man, great for the younger guys.”
Woodward, who coached England to World Cup glory in 2003, had suggested Marler and Cole’s “embarrassing” behaviour were signs that they had become complacent. However, Jones said complacency was not to blame for their defeat in the final.
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“You can draw any number of stories out of it – you can look at the players having an ice-cream after training, someone was laughing after training, someone behaved like this at a certain press conference,” Jones added.
“You can draw all those things out but at the end of the day it’s pretty simple: they [South Africa] were at their best, we weren’t. We weren’t good enough to get back up the mountain.”
Outlining his criticism of Marler and Cole, Woodward had told a St Mary’s University Twickenham webinar about his impressions formed at a media conference he attended two days before the final in Yokohama.
“Honestly, I sat there and it was like Laurel and Hardy. I’m just going, I know they are on the bench but this is 48 hours from the World Cup final. It was to me poor and that is me being polite. It was really poor.
“As history turned out, these two players would have a huge, huge role in the game with (Kyle) Sinckler going off so early. So Cole is on really, really early. Marler comes on as they take off Mako Vunipola.
Source: AAP, additional reporting RugbyPass