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The massive compliment Joe Marler paid to a teenage Sale tighthead

By Liam Heagney
Sale's Asher Opoku-Fordjour (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Harlequins loosehead Joe Marler gave a wonderful compliment to a teenage opposition prop when conducting a flash TV interview near the end of Friday night’s Gallagher Premiership win over Sale.

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The London club were fully deserving of their 36-3 victory over the league leaders and with minutes remaining in the match, the England prop had a few brief words with TNT Sport, who were broadcasting the game live.

Marler played an hour of the match before giving way to Fin Baxter, but the 10 minutes he had on the pitch against Asher Opoku-Fordjour, a 50th-minute Sale replacement at tighthead for Nick Schonert, made an impression.

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The 19-year-old made his first-team league debut a fortnight previously when coming off the bench in the Sharks’ home win over Newcastle.

However, how he helped Sale to dominate in the scrum against Harlequins despite his team losing out in all other areas of the game, caught the attention of Marler. “Do you not want any analysis? So there is a young tighthead that has come off the bench for Sale.

“He replaced James Harper in the warm-up, something like that… I have got a big thing about young, up-and-coming front-rowers. Fin Baxter for us… but this guy, No18, I like the look of.”

It’s not the first time Opoku-Fordjour has stood out as he was part of the England U20s team that reached the semi-finals of the World Junior Championship in South Africa last July, a tournament where the try he scored in the pool opener versus Ireland highlighted his power and athleticism in the carry.

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About Harlequins’ success against Sale following two successive defeats in the league, Marler added: “Buzzing. We were really disappointed with us pretty much not turning up against Saracens the last time we were here under the lights.

“We were a little more ourselves at Saints but still not winning… This week we really stepped up, gave the fans something to shout about again and we’re pleased.”

  • Click here for all the RugbyPass stats from the Harlequins versus Sale Premiership match
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