Marler hopes criticism is a mere storm in a coffee cup
England’s 28-25 defeat by Wales last Saturday attracted almost 12 million TV viewers in Britain, which is a record for a rugby match in the past eight years. Surely if Stuart Lancaster’s side advance from Pool A, that figure will rise higher still. Here’s hoping they put it to the test by bettering the Australians today.
While such a huge TV audience is unquestionably a fillip for the sport, for one man it has been something of a curse. Joe Marler, the loose-head prop, came under scrutiny for his scrummaging, with the Harlequins captain seemingly driving in at an angle – and the overhead views didn’t aid his cause.
The 25-year-old’s tormentor in chief is a former international referee who voiced his options on Twitter. There are two ways to take criticism: be all defensive and dismiss it as wrong; or take it on board and deal with it constructively.
James Stafford, writing for Front Row, The Telegraph’s alternative take on RWC 2015, notes how Marler – once a player with a patchy disciplinary record – has maturely chosen the latter route. The resulting coffee date he has offered South African Jonathan Kaplan, who took charge of 68 Tests before retiring in 2013, should help the Harlequins skipper to master his technique.
Kaplan’s observations put Marler under the spotlight and led to a Twitter campaign. Someone needs to live blog this coffee meeting when it happens. James Stafford on