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'We were crap': England star looks back on 'journey' to World Cup bronze

By Josh Raisey
Owen Farrell of England celebrates with teammates following the team's victory in the Rugby World Cup France 2023 Bronze Final match between Argentina and England at Stade de France on October 27, 2023 in Paris, France. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

There are “plenty of things to be hopeful for in the future” for England according to loosehead Joe Marler after they finished third at the World Cup on Friday with a 26-23 win over Argentina in the bronze final.


The 33-year-old, who is reported to be retiring at the end of the season, was not selected for the match against the Pumas, but was on the field after the match to collect his bronze medal where briefly spoke to ITV Rugby. 

The Harlequin looked back on the last five months with England and the journey they have taken to become a “new England”. His head coach Steve Borthwick has mentioned this World Cup that the England coaching team only came together in June, compared to other set-ups that have had four years together, and Marler alluded to that.

Video Spacer

England post-match presser – third-place play-off

Video Spacer

England post-match presser – third-place play-off

Looking back on that five month journey, which included only one win from four in their warm-ups and a first ever defeat to Fiji, Marler described the side as “crap”. But after only losing one match from seven at the World Cup – a narrow one point loss to then world champions South Africa – Marler feels the future is bright for England.

“I just want to say on behalf of the team, to all the fans that have supported us out here and back at home, it’s been phenomenal,” the 88-cap veteran said on the Stade de France pitch.

“It’s been a brilliant, brilliant journey to come five months ago where we were crap, to start building a new England. There’s plenty of things to be hopeful for in the future, so get behind the team moving forward.”


Borthwick echoed these sentiments after the match as well, as he too looked back on the journey his side have made. The head coach is equally as buoyant about what lies ahead for England despite a spate of players moving on after the World Cup.

“This coaching team only came together in June and to knit together a programme super fast – I couldn’t be more proud but I hope the players have enjoyed it,” he said.

“I’m delighted for the players, who have worked so hard. We won six games out of seven and lost one game by one point to the world champions, which shows the progress of the team.

“I always believed we would be right [for the tournament]. Some challenging decisions were made – but we were clear that the World Cup isn’t played in August.


“The age profile of the squad – there are always players who decide their time has come to an end at the World Cup – is strong. I think there’s excitement about those players. We know there are areas we are thinner than others and I need to work to find some depth in those positions.



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Jono 266 days ago

The only Englishman that should be reported about today has a golden whistle in hand at 9pm, keep this reporting for next week and keep the focus on the two teams deserved of the spotlight today.

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