Joe Marler admitted that England were “c***” five months ago as he reflected on the journey they have gone on after their third-place finish at the Rugby World Cup. Steve Borthwick’s side defeated Argentina 26-23 to pick up a bronze medal in France and Marler believes that the good times can continue.
Marler was not in the squad to face the Pumas as he watched on from the sidelines, as the 33-year-old may have played his last game for his country but was overjoyed at the remarkable turnaround England have made in recent months. Just a few months into Borthwick’s reign, they won only two of five games at the Six Nations and everyone was aware of the improvements that needed to be made.
But having reached the semi-finals of the World Cup and coming inches away from victory over a strong South Africa team, few would argue that those improvements haven’t been made. Marler took to the pitch to react to England’s tournament at full-time on Friday, before sending an X-rated message to the fans.
“Bonne Soiree (good evening),” he said. “I just want to say on behalf of the team, to all the fans that have supported us out here and back at home, it has been phenomenal. It’s been a brilliant, brilliant journey.
“To come five months ago where we were c***, to start building a new England, there’s plenty of things to be hopeful for in the future so get behind the team moving forward, love you guys, bye!”
Never afraid to speak his mind, Marler was also spotted reportedly avoiding World Rugby chief Bill Beaumont during the medal ceremony. The governing body has come in for some criticism after their newly-announced Nations Championship tournament but former England playmaker Andy Goode felt that the snub was disrespectful.
“Joe Marler showing a lack of respect for Bill Beaumont and walking straight past without shaking his hand, sums him up really,” Goode wrote on X (formerly known as Twitter).
But Marler’s optimism for England’s future was a sentiment shared by his team-mates after they overcame a tough battle with Argentina. Captain Owen Farrell said: “You have to be able to play rugby a few ways and we are developing that and hopefully it will keep improving. I know we will improve. But proud of the effort the lads have put in.”
One of the newer stars of the team, Theo Dan, added: “We are still heartbroken from last weekend. The performance was something we were proud of and we want to build momentum and grind out a result, today we achieved that.”