Joe Marler says retirement from international rugby has been brewing for some time. The Harlequins prop announced his decision to walk away from England duty last week, with the squad due to go into camp in Bristol to help prepare for the upcoming November Internationals.


Speaking exclusively to The Rugby Pod, Marler revealed that he thought about stepping away before the summer tour to South Africa.

“I really enjoyed my time with England, I really enjoyed playing international rugby, but that (family) is my priority. My family, as soon as I had kids it completely flipped my perspective in life. When I had my kids they’re number one and I just need to be around more.”

“You might as well write off this year, it’s a huge year, a World Cup in Japan, but you might as well write it off. Yeah you talk about the coin and the earnings you can get off the back of it, but you can’t buy back the years or the parents evenings or the stuff I could have potentially missed out.”

Marler tried to explain what he was going through in the lead up the recent England training camp, with Quins facing the Bristol Bears the Saturday before Eddie Jones’ squad gathered.

“The Bristol game, I played like an absolute helmet which often happened around England time. The anxiety I would get about having to leave and go away again would start to manifest itself in giving away even more dull penalties and looking for outs, looking for a yellow card, looking for a red card, because if I could pick up a ban, then that’s an easy way out, without actually pulling the trigger,” he said.

“After that (Bristol) game, I said: ‘I can’t keep doing this. I can’t keep doing this rollercoaster. It’s not fair on my family and it’s not fair on the club to go’.”


They were quotes that some media outlets interpreted as Marler deliberately going out to get banned, but Marler clarified things on Twitter.

“I would like to clarify my comments on @TheRugbyPod this morning that have been taken out of context. I have never deliberately done anything on a rugby pitch – or off it – to get a ban.” he said.

“I was simply reflecting on my occasional irrational behaviour when England camps were looming and trying to understand my actions a little better.


Marler also revealed Eddie Jones didn’t try to convince him to stay on.

“The relationship I had with Eddie, based on what I had done in 2016 with the Australia tour (when Marler pulled out). He knew that if I had decided on something, then that was it.”

“So there wasn’t a lot of chat that he could give to change my mind.”

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