Mar­ler hopes crit­i­cism is a mere storm in a cof­fee cup

The Daily Telegraph - Rugby World Cup - - Sport: Rugby World Cup 2015 -

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.

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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

Front Row

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