Marler: England are evolving


Published: Wednesday 11th February 2015 by The News Editor

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Joe Marler believes England have taken a significant step in their development by learning to problem solve on the pitch.

The 21-16 victory over Wales in Friday’s RBS 6 Nations opener has been spoken of as a watershed moment for Stuart Lancaster’s team, who battled back from an early 10-0 deficit to prevail at a hostile Millennium Stadium.

The successful comeback, completed despite the psychological scarring left by their 30-3 hammering in Cardiff in 2013, was founded on the experience of having endured a number of near misses.

Among the most harrowing – and instructive – of these was last season’s 26-24 defeat in France , a match England trailed 16-3 and then led 24-19 before a late lapse of concentration cost them a Grand Slam.

“It definitely feels as if we are a team that is evolving and sorting out problems on the pitch,” Harlequins prop Marler said.

“In Paris last year when we went down early there was still that little bit of panic and unease about how we are going to get back into the game.

“But in Cardiff hardly anything was said and it was a case of what’s the next job and let’s get on with it. The boys are starting to understand the lessons we have learnt.

“Beating Wales like that has raised confidence levels because it was a great performance. It was a good result but there’s still plenty to work on.

“To go 10-0 down wasn’t in the plan and there are areas to tweak, disciplinary areas which we managed to sort out in the game, but we don’t want to put ourselves in that position again.”

England will hope to generate further momentum in their pursuit of a first Six Nations title under Lancaster by toppling Italy at Twickenham on Saturday.

Facing Marler will be 108-cap veteran Martin Castrogiovanni, the shaggy-haired tighthead who continues to provide the cornerstone of the effective Azzurri pack.

“Martin gets more experienced all the time and is still world class. He’s been at the very top for a number of years now,” Marler said.

“Having moved from Leicester to Toulon, who love their scrums even more than Leicester, he’ll be one hell of a challenge at the weekend. And one I’m looking forward to.

“He’s technically very, very good. He gets very low and is obviously a very big man.

“He’s very strong and I’ve had a couple of tough moments against him in the past and hopefully I can go better against him this time.

“Italy are a very good team who pride themselves on the set piece. They are big, physical and passionate men and just won’t stop.”

Marler will continue at loosehead prop when Lancaster names an unchanged starting XV and bench for the round two fixture on Thursday morning.

Published: Wednesday 11th February 2015 by The News Editor

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