Ben Youngs believes Joe Marler came out of retirement because England have one of their best-ever chances to win the World Cup. Harlequins prop Marler last featured for England in June 2018, but has reversed his decision to quit Test rugby to join Eddie Jones’ 35-man World Cup training squad.
Marler was the surprise inclusion in England’s ranks, with Danny Cipriani retained but Dan Robson and Mike Brown were omitted. Leicester scrum-half Youngs hailed close friend Marler’s return as a big boost, claiming England will be better prepared at this World Cup than in his last two tournaments, in 2011 and 2015.
“I’ve done two World Cups before, and I don’t think I’ll ever feel as well prepared for a World Cup as I will this time around; physically, in complete knowledge of how we want to play – and unity,” said Youngs.
“I’ve never felt an international side like I have under Eddie, in terms of that unity. So for me, it will be a lot different, and it is exciting. And I think that’s why someone like Joe has done a U-turn because he knows, he understands that unity that we have here.
“He understands that probably this is one of the best chances we’ll ever have of winning the World Cup. So the fact that Joe has done a U-turn is a huge compliment to the side, and also the organisation that Eddie has put in place. Even with a newborn, he still wants to make that sacrifice because he knows how good it could be.”
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) July 4, 2019
England must submit their final 31-man World Cup squad on September 2, before kicking off their tournament against Tonga in Sapporo on September 22. Head coach Jones revealed England will have their final 31 sorted by August 12.
Marler quit Test rugby to spend more time with his family but put his hand up for a return after a series of conversations with Jones. Youngs insisted the England squad will rally round if Marler struggles during England’s lengthy trip to Japan.
“I’m very good friends with Joe, so it’s great, I’m delighted for him,” said Youngs, speaking at the launch of England’s Canterbury World Cup kit. “Probably the carrot of the World Cup has probably just made him think he wants to be a part of it.
Eddie Jones names his 35 to train for the RWC https://t.co/D7fkaFya5C
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) July 4, 2019
“And he just probably missed it all, just because playing for England, it’s an unbelievable thing to do, it’s great fun, we’ve got a great team. So he’s obviously missed it and wants to be a part of it again, which I think is a credit to the environment and the team that he’s been away and he’s missed it.
“He had wanted to spend more time with his family and I totally respect that. He’s been away for a year, so it probably will make him perhaps bring some other views or ideas that we need.
“He’ll be able to add and perhaps see things differently. But I’m just very pleased to have someone of his experience coming back. The majority of lads are married and have kids. You’re just not alone. There’s plenty of guys in the same boat. All the guys miss their families and things, so you reassure each other.
“But I’m sure he wouldn’t have come back without some kind of coping mechanism to make sure he doesn’t beat himself up for being away. I’m sure he wouldn’t have made this decision lightly, without the tools to cope.
“But that’s why we’re team-mates, to create that camaraderie and community, and that definitely falls on our laps to make sure that guys are always confident to open up if they are not feeling themselves.”
– Press Association
WATCH: Part one of the two-part RugbyPass documentary on the many adventures that fans can expect to experience in Japan at this year’s World Cup
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