England prop Joe Marler has showed a touch of class in an exchange with a French adversary following his side’s loss to Les Bleus in Paris.
England came off second best in a brutal ‘Le Crunch’ showdown in the French capital, but Marler found the time to offer his congratulations to the tighthead that he locked horns with – Mohamed Haouas.
The Montpellier frontrow had enjoyed an excellent debut, a game which saw him put significant pressure on the Englishman for much of first and until he was replaced in the second.
Midi Olympique reported that the Marler sought out French coaches to inquire about the young prop before he came face to face with the Les Bleus debutant and offered him his jersey.
— Montpellier Rugby (@MHR_officiel) February 7, 2020
According to the report the 66 times capped Harlequin refused to take the debutant’s jersey in return, saying: “It’s the jersey from your first cap, you shouldn’t swap it or give it to anyone.”
Marler himself is enjoying an England renaissance after returning from a premature international retirement in 2018. He had previously decided that England’s 25-10 win over South Africa in Cape Town on 23 June of that year would be his final test match, and when Eddie Jones tried to replace him after 70 minutes, he told him to ‘get f*****.’
The outspoken and often entertaining frontrower came back into Jones’ reckoning at the Rugby World Cup after fears over an injury to fellow loosehead Mako Vunipola in the summer of 2019.
Self improvement has been a focus for the prop in the latter years of his career. He began seeing sports psychologist and former England cricketer Jeremy Snape in May, 2016 to address a ‘lack of professional control’, after receiving a two week ban that season for kicking Grenoble hooker Arnaud Heguy in a European Champions Cup tie.
WATCH: Joe Marler and Dan Cole spoke to the press ahead of their Rugby World Cup final against South Africa on Saturday.
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