Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 December 2014

Marler shines in South America

Joe Marler laid down a marker against Argentina
Joe Marler laid down a marker against Argentina

Joe Marler will head to Glastonbury Festival this summer on a high after ending a turbulent 12 months with a man-of-the-match performance in England's 51-26 victory over Argentina.

The Harlequins prop is ready to let his bleached blond hair down after a year in which he made his England debut, lost his place and his confidence and then regained both with a bang.

"I have just enjoyed myself. There were some darker times earlier on in the season to cope with, especially in the Six Nations," Marler said.

"It was just about getting about back on the horse, coming here and enjoying it and I have enjoyed every minute. There were several people taking me to one side. 'Stop moping about and feeling sorry for yourself - just get on with it'.

"They were right. I am still learning lots about the whole game and the way to approach it. I have enjoyed my time on this tour and it has been a great set of lads to be part of. The last time I was named man of the match was probably at Esher in National One. It was a bit different from out here in Buenos Aires.

"Now I am looking forward to four weeks off. I am just going to Glastonbury then down to Cornwall for a few days."

Marler would have been on the bench for the two-Test series in Argentina had Alex Corbisiero not been called up to join fellow England loosehead prop Mako Vunipola with the British and Irish Lions. With his chief rivals away, Marler took his opportunity as England wrapped up the Test series 2-0 and he played a key role at the Velez Sarsfield stadium.

Freddie Burns touched down in between the pack's two strong-arm efforts and England went on to score seven tries, with Marlon Yarde bagging two on his debut. Kyle Eastmond, making his first Test start, scored a dazzling solo effort and Rob Webber touched in the corner but all of that was possible because of those two scrums.

Having already been awarded one penalty try, England captain Tom Wood opted for a five metre scrum instead of kicking three points and it paid off handsomely.

"When he (the captain) makes the initial decision it is like 'OK then you are backing us' and once we get the try there is no better feeling for a prop or a front row forward," Marler said. "It is almost like scoring it ourselves because we don't get many of them. Yes (I put it on my tally)!"

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