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The England Test forfeit Drew Mitchell has struck with Joe Marler

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

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Former Wallabies winger Drew Mitchell has a very good Joe Marler reason to fully believe that Dave Rennie’s Australia will close out their three-game Test series with England this Saturday with a match to spare. The Aussies took a 1-0 series lead last weekend in Perth and the outcome of this weekend’s rematch in Brisbane has taken on an even greater significance for the retired Mitchell after some online banter with Marler, the non-travelling English prop.

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Despite featuring off the bench in seven of the eight England games in the 2021/22 season through to the conclusion of the Guinness Six Nations, Marler opted against touring Australia and has been watching the trip unfold from afar. 

The soon-to-be 32-year-old was massively confident that his teammates would do a convincing job in his absence, the loosehead tweeting pre-game last Saturday: “This pack will eat them alive.” That prediction was well wide of the mark, Marler later posting: “Note to self – don’t make pre-match predictions.”

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Marler’s “pack will eat them alive” tweet was picked up on by Mitchell and following some banter between the pair, a wager was struck on the outcome of next weekend’s second Test result. “Loser walks down the street, opposition jersey on top, budgies on the bottom, singing opposition national anthem….. full blast, no half-hearted s***,” wrote Marler, a forfeit that Mitchell agreed to.

Mitchell has since been speaking about his bet with Marler, explaining on the new Chats with Jim Hamilton podcast what happened on Twitter and elaborating on the reasons why he thinks it will be the England front-rower who will be wearing a Wallabies jersey next Saturday and not him donning an English jersey and making a fool of himself in Brisbane.

“I just engaged a little bit on Twitter when I was watching with Kurtley Beale the other night and Joe Marler, who is not playing but is an English prop, was talking about how the forward pack was going to smack and dominate the Wallabies and I just replied with a LOL. He has now thrown out a bet, a challenge for this upcoming game. 

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“If England win I have to walk up Caxton Street, which is just a street of pubs filled absolutely to the brim with Aussies who look like they have been sent from England all those years ago, in an England jersey, budgie smugglers and singing Sweet Low, Sweet Chariot. I have put it on the line. 

“After that performance, I was pretty happy with what we had put out there (in Perth) and the adjustments we can make moving into game two. I’m hoping it is going to be Joe Marler in a Wallabies jersey somewhere in England. 

“I don’t know what street or where he is located but he threw out the loser has to wear the opposing team’s jersey and a pair of budgie smugglers and sing the anthem of the other team, so he will be singing Advance Australia Fair hopefully. 

“I don’t know whether it is going to be straight after the game. I figure it is easier for me if the Wallabies lose just to walk out of the stadium and walk up the street and get it over and done with – and I’ll pay my dues if that is the case – but I just think Joe Marler is going to be the one wearing a Wallabies jersey.”

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Why? “My worry going into game one was around the physicality of it and the contest because our two teams that had made Pacific Rugby finals, the Waratahs were dominated physically by the Chiefs and the Brumbies got dominated physically by the Blues in the semi-final. That was where I was most concerned. 

“I still think moving forward that is where the game is going to be won and lost. When you allow players like Samu Kerevi to get on the front foot and either have the decision to run or kick rather than being on the back foot, there is a big difference in that. I would have someone bigger in the midfield for England. They are not getting enough advantage line in their centres.”

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