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'Oh God, wow. Has Eddie got some sort of deal with 365?'

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Dan Mullan/The RFU Collection via Getty Images)

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Joe Marler has quipped that England boss Eddie Jones must have a deal with the bookies after learning that Ireland were midweek favourites heading into this weekend’s Guinness Six Nations title race eliminator at Twickenham. Jones has claimed on Monday that the second-place Irish were favourites for the game in London, something seasoned prop Marler struggled to comprehend when asked about what had been said by his head coach.

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“I honestly don’t know how to answer that because I can’t think of why are they favourites, I don’t know. Why they are favourites?” Marler asked when quizzed about how the pre-match odds were shaping up. 

On hearing that Ireland were being quoted as four-to-five favourites, the prop exclaimed: “Oh God, wow. Has Eddie got some sort of deal with (Bet) 365? I don’t why Eddie says half the stuff he does. It’s Eddie.”

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This response resulted in the question getting put to Marler in a different way – how could an Ireland team that was hammered at the 2019 World Cup quarter-finals by the New Zealand team that Jones’ England beat in the semi-finals be coming to Twickenham now as the more fancied Six Nations team?

“It’s a very different (England) group to that 2019 group. It is a very different group, mate, and there are guys in key roles now that have been in those roles for a few months. Marcus Smith, the wonder child, has been bigged up for long by everyone, rightly so. He has now got the starting shirt. That is his to make his own and he has got less than ten caps. 

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“He is still learning the ropes on how to play Test rugby and there are other characters. Ellis Genge is the vice-captain, he is the out-and-out starting loosehead now. You have got (Tom) Curry who stepped up as the captain in the first two games. Courtney Lawes has just come back, this is his second game to get back into it, so it’s a different dynamic. 

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“Do I think we have not come as far as we should have? Well, how do you measure that? If you are basing it on the World Cup and you go ‘England got to the final in 2019’, then surely you can’t make a judgment if you are basing it on the World Cup until the next World Cup. But you can’t wait until the next World Cup to start making headlines, so you need to write stuff now.”

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