Eastbourne’s Joe Marler will have to put recent criticism of his scrummage technique behind him as he prepares to face Australia tonight in the Rugby World Cup.
The England loose head prop was accused by former Australia coach Bob Dwyer of ‘boring in’ at the scrummage - meaning Marler does not drive straight at a scrum but instead shoves inwards at an angle to put pressure on his opposite prop.
The claim infuriated England’s management who said it was an attempt to unsettle the England camp and influence the referee ahead of the crunch clash with Australia.
Harlequins forwards coach John Kingston, who has worked with Marler at club level for five years, said, “It’s pretty rich getting comments along those lines. It’s all too obvious what the ulterior motivation is.
“It’s also pretty laughable. The truth is that Joe Marler is one of the most honest scrummagers I’ve ever come across. Ask the referees in Europe and the Premiership.”
Marler, a former junior player with Eastbourne Rugby Club, has started in each of England’s Pool A games in this year’s World Cup. He helped England to a maximum points victory in their first game against Fiji and then suffered the agony of England’s last gasp defeat to Wales at Twickenham last Saturday.
England must win tonight against Australia in order to advance to the quarter-final stages.