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Rowntree hails 'Mohican man' Marler

England forwards coach Graham Rowntree branded Joe Marler a "unique talent" after awarding the Harlequins prop his first senior international call-up.

Marler, 21, has caught the eye for Quins in more ways than one, but Rowntree is interested less in his multi-coloured Mohican hairstyle and more in his ability. The former South Africa prop Cobus Visagie said recently that Marler was talented but lacked the technique to warrant an immediate England call-up. Rowntree disagrees.

"Now is the perfect time to get Joe Marler involved in international rugby," the former England and Leicester prop said. "It was the same with Alex Corbisiero a year ago. Joe's got great talents but we've got to find consistency with him and that's the same with a lot of young players coming into the Test arena."

He added: "We've got to find the consistency to marry up to Joe's unique talents. I am confident in Joe."

Asked what was unique about him, Rowntree added: "He is an explosive prop forward because of his carrying game and his defensive game.

"Now we've got to develop the consistency at scrum time, which you have to have in the Test arena. That's my job. But having those talents available to us, I'm excited about."

Rowntree dismissed suggestions that Marler had been warned to tone down the hair-style or he would not be picked by England.

"I've never said he won't play for England unless he gets his hair cut. That is irrelevant for me," Rowntree said. "I just look down!"

Marler edged out Gloucester prop Nick Wood from the senior squad and he will compete with Corbisiero to be England's starting loose-head in the Six Nations.

In the back row, Northampton's Tom Wood is awaiting the results of a scan on his foot before England know whether he will be to face Scotland on February 4.


From Belfast Telegraph