- Loosehead outlines first penalty try as “turning point”
- Marler believes fresh faces have thrived in South America
Joe Marler admitted England’s performance was not quite perfect during their 51-26 win over Argentina at the Estadio Velez Sarsfield, but also handed huge praise to his teammates for weathering the expected Pumas “backlash” and completing a series clean-sweep.
Marler produced a fantastic all-round display from loosehead prop on Saturday evening, featuring prominently in a dominant scrum and lending an extremely industrious effort in the loose.
Over a fast-paced encounter, the Harlequins man also contributed 11 tackles and 4 carries. However, two first-half penalty tries understandably stood out as highlights.
“It’s a good dressing room to be a part of having just put 50 points on an international team,” said the 22 year-old shortly after the final whistle. “Obviously we’ve won the series 2-0 as well, so we couldn’t be happier.
“The opening 20 minutes were tough – they came at us like we knew they would and there was a backlash from last week. That first penalty try was an important turning point for us, as you could see by the reaction of all eight of us.
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“They were in the lead and that took us to 13-12 up. I’ve been there before – as a pack that have just conceded a penalty try, you go into yourself. We knew that would be the case so we tried to ramp it up from there.
“[For the second] Tom Wood asked Nigel Owens if there was time to kick it out for the lineout. There wasn’t, so we thought we’d give the scrum a crack – if we didn’t get anywhere it was still a good platform for the backs to play off. Two penalty tries is a good day at the office but it was still really hard work.”
Marler was sure to acknowledge the effort of Santiago Phelan’s Argentina, who were far more competitive than during their capitulation in Salta the previous week and fought back to 25-19 when wing Manuel Montero barged over on 49 minutes.
However, the game was killed off with a brace from Marland Yarde complementing further tries from Rob Webber and Kyle Eastmond to complete a first England series victory in Argentina since 1981.
With a nod to those three second-half scorers, Marler finished by suggesting that Stuart Lancaster may have been dealt a selection headache by the success of this young, inexperienced squad.
“I’ve enjoyed myself on this tour. All the boys – especially the new caps – have really shone through and it’s been great.
“Stuart made it clear at the start of the Barbarians week that after he had rested some of the senior boys and some were away with the Lions that this tour was about pushing on towards challenging for places in the autumn.
“A lot of guys put their hands up, which is great – you want the senior players looking down and thinking ‘OK, I’ve got to step it up a bit.’”