Sunday 11 December 2016

England's Joe Marler avoids injury after tripping over snake and landing in a pile of nappies

Nick Purewal

Published 02/06/2015 | 07:58

Joe Marler
Joe Marler

A tumble on a toy snake that landed a pile of dirty nappies on Joe Marler's face nearly handed the England prop a World Cup setback.

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Harlequins prop Marler revealed he added an extra week's rehabilitation to his shoulder problem after falling down the stairs at home this week.

The 24-year-old front-rower suffered a torn labrum in April, immediately undergoing surgery to return in time for England's summer training camps.

Marler expects to return to full training before the end of July, allowing full part in England's August World Cup warm-up programme - no thanks to his midweek trip down the stairs.

"The missus had a headache and was struggling, so I went to get the dirty nappy bin and the dirty washing, I had the toothbrush in my mouth, and I thought 'I can make it downstairs here; I'll be fine'," said Marler.

"My son actually likes chucking things over the stair gate, so on the second step down I fell on his toy snake and went straight down the stairs, head to bottom, and I'm gone.

"I've got dirty nappies all over my face, with the missus screaming 'what's the matter? What's the matter?'

"I said 'nothing, don't come down here, it's really embarrassing'.

"My shoulder is fine, that's put me back a week but the rehab is going well other than that."

England will look to Marler's firebrand breed of front-row play more than ever in the absence of dropped hooker Dylan Hartley.

Northampton front-rower Hartley was jettisoned from the World Cup squad last week by boss Stuart Lancaster after his four-week ban for head-butting Saracens counterpart Jamie George.

George replaced Hartley in England's wider World Cup training squad as the unpredictable Saints hooker's career bans tipped 54 weeks.

Lancaster admitted he could not rely on Hartley to keep his cool in the ultimate heat of World Cup battle - and Marler agreed however great the provocation, natural instincts must be curbed.

Dogged by hot-headed troubles of his own in his early days, Marler conceded he had to fight to control the "red mist" to preserve his own Test career.

"Obviously Dylan will be disappointed to miss out on such a huge opportunity for any player," said Marler, speaking at a Dove Men event at Twickenham.

"He's missed out on some big things in the past and this will be another tough pill to swallow for him.

"I'm sure Dylan will be as disappointed as everyone else is for him.

"From a personal point of view it took me a while to get a grip of the monkey in my head, that red mist that descends.

"The biggest lesson is realising it's the team-mates you're letting down in that game, and then the following games when you're not available.

"It was actually Olly Kohn who played for Quins, the nicest guy going, friends with everyone, who had never said a bad word, who turned round one week and said 'mate, stop being a d*******, you're letting the boys down'.

"That's when it started to hit home.

"Whatever ego or red mist I have, I've got to get a lid on and crack on with my job.

"Rugby's not about egos, personal battles or cheap digs. It's about imposing yourself physically for sure, but you can do that by tackling someone, by ending a ruck or in a scrum.

"It took me a while to learn that, and it's each individual's responsibility to get a grip on that."

 

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