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What Joe Marler said when asked who has the world's best front row

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

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Joe Marler is usually the type of laidback character that is more inclined to crack a joke than answer a serious question seriously, but the England prop had no qualms about giving a proper reply in midweek when asked which country has the best front row in the world these days.

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There was no hesitation, no delay, no jokey quip to try and lighten the mood. Instead, he fired back his answer immediately and also had an explanation at the tip of his tongue as to why he has taken a shine to the Grand Slam-chasing French.   

“France are very, very good at the minute. William Servat and the things that he is doing with the French front rows, I like a lot of what he is about. I am trying to tap into Phil Keith-Roche at the minute and get the old dog some coffee and get some chat going around but we are both very, very fond of the French at the minute. 

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Le French Rugby Podcast – Episode 19
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Le French Rugby Podcast – Episode 19

“Who else is good? Ireland. Tadgh (Furlong) is very good. (Andrew) Porter was going really well until he got his injury, which is a shame. Yeah, some good ones out there. I like front rows, I like that one question.”

Marler has been given three short cameos off the England bench so far in the 2022 Guinness Six Nations and a similar involvement is expected this Saturday versus Ireland at Twickenham. 

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England boss Eddie Jones has suggested that scrums later on in Test games are now more important than early ones and he claimed this was why the seasoned Marler was so vital as the loosehead backup behind Ellis Genge. Marler, though, wasn’t buying this particular narrative.

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“Trying to keep me happy, is it? I get it, pump up the tyres. Are (later) scrums more important? It’s not a popular answer but scrums are important the whole game. 

“You get dominance in a scrum at any point you get a penalty you can kick into the corner, you can get advantage and you have the freedom of the backs to open up. Very much at Harlequins, we try our hardest to give a platform for our backs to play off with quick ball but first prize is actually, can we get a penalty out of this so that we can give them even more freedom to ave them joie?

“They are very important and at any point I come on, I will try my hardest to do pretty much the only thing I can do.”

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