Veteran prop Joe Marler has defended England’s “repulsive” brand of rugby in France, claiming no-one remembers how any team plays if they win the World Cup.
Marler was responding to former France flanker Olivier Magne, who said on social media: “This English team is ugly – no desire, no joy, no consistency. It’s a repulsive rugby.”
The Roses bagged a late bonus point in Sunday’s World Cup Pool D clash with Japan in Nice to ensure the English, who opened their campaign with a hard-fought 27-10 win against Argentina, took five points for the 34-12 win.
Recalling the 2003 England team that lifted the Webb Ellis Cup in Australia, as well as the Springboks’ triumph in, Marler reminded everyone that there’s medals for style or “finesse” at World Cup tournaments.
Quoted by The Guardian newspaper in the UK, the controversial loosehead said: “Why do you have to finesse it? You’ve just got to win, haven’t you? What did England do 20 years ago? Find a way to win in the World Cup.
“We’ll keep trying and taking the lessons from each game. We’ll take the lessons and we’ll keep trying to finesse. Ultimately it’s about the win.
“You talk about style of play, a lot of people do. [The 2003 team] went a couple of phases, Jonny [Wilkinson] slotted some penalties and some drop goals. They won ugly, a lot of that tournament they won ugly but we don’t talk about that now, do we? We talk about them winning the World Cup. You forget about how [they] did it.
“You don’t talk about South Africa getting pumped in the first game against New Zealand, you talk about them pumping us in the final and then lifting the trophy.
“We will continue to work on our game to improve and make sure we’ve got a better chance of winning those games.”
Photo: Behrouz Mehri/AFP