- Marler says England need more consistency against Ireland
- Forwards need strong set piece as well as carrying
England prop Joe Marler says that being clinical for 80 minutes will be the main challenge against Ireland on Sunday and a key focus for the side throughout training this week.
The Harlequins loose head made his RBS 6 Nations debut last weekend in England’s 38-18 win over Scotland, playing against a strong Scottish front row which included former British Lions prop Euan Murray.
While the scoreline and the statistics suggest a dominant performance by England, with 60 per cent possession and 68 per cent territory, Scotland started the match off strongly scoring after ten minutes.
Against Ireland, who beat Wales 30-22 at the Millennium Stadium last weekend on the back of a fast start, Marler knows that England will have to be more clinical and put in a strong 80 minute performance if they are to have a chance of overturning Declan Kidney’s men.
“The boys are pleased with the result and to get off to a good start,” said the 22-year-old. “We are pretty happy with the 60 minute performance that we put in but also disappointed with that 20 minute period where perhaps we could have been a bit more clinical.
"But it’s good because that has given us something to work on this week going into the Ireland game. Against Scotland we were pretty solid on our own ball and tried as hard as we could to disrupt them on their ball. It was a tough day at the office.”
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Marler is expected to win his seventh cap in Dublin on Sunday, and if he does he will be up against an Irish front row in good form. Against Wales the Irish tight three lost just one of their six scrums as well as putting in the yards across the park. Hooker Rory Best and prop Cian Healy put in 25 tackles between them, while the man opposite Marler, Mike Ross, has continued to impress with strong performances.
Providing a solid platform at the scrum from which to unleash England’s attacking back line is the main priority for Marler but he says that the forwards also need to contribute in carrying and quick handling.
“Getting set piece right and supporting the boys around me is key and then whatever comes of that is probably a bonus. The way we want to attack as a team requires numbers 1-8 and forwards coming off the bench to be able to carry and be able to handle. That’s what we have got to keep doing.”
Last year’s 30-9 win at Twickenham over the Irish will be a motivating factor for England going into the game but Marler insists there will not be a big psychological edge over the men in green.
“There's not really a psychological edge as that game was a year ago now. They'll have that in their mind more so than us. A lot of the boys have moved on since then, it’s a new team and new six nations, new challenge, and they have improved a lot since then."