Joe Marler On How He Would ‘Look’ For Suspensions To Avoid England Duty

Easy way out.

Former England international Joe Marler has admitted that he would sometimes ‘look’ to give away penalties and pick up cards in games as an easy way out of national duty, due to anxiety.

Marler, who retired from international duty last week at just 28, told The Rugby Pod that he considered pulling out of England’s tour of South Africa last month, and that he suffered anxiety in the lead up to international duty.

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Marler, who missed the first two matches of this year’s Six Nations owing to suspension, said:

“The anxiety I would get about having to leave and go away again would start to manifest itself in giving away even more dull penalties and looking for outs, looking for a yellow card, looking for a red card, because if I could pick up a ban, that’s an easy way out without actually pulling the trigger.” Marler said.

A dangerous clearout on Sale’s TJ Ioane back in January caused him to miss Six Nations games against Italy and Wales – which adds up now following his admission. He also received a three-week ban back in October 2017 for striking Wasps’ Will Rowlands and missed England’s opening match of the autumn against Argentina.

Marler however, has since come out on Twitter following those remarks this morning – making it clear he didn’t intentionally look to get a ban. He was more so reflecting on his irrational behaviour, due to the anxiety that manifested within him ahead of England duty.