Joe Marler admits that in an attempt to avoid having to go on England duty, he tried to pick up yellow and red cards during matches. Last week following his inclusion in England’s training camp, he announced his retirement from international rugby saying that he wanted to spend more time with his family.
He said: “The anxiety I would get about having to leave and go away again would manifest itself in giving away more dull penalties and looking for outs, looking for a yellow card, looking for a red card, because if I could pick up a ban, that’s an easy way out without actually pulling the trigger.”
He found himself seeking trouble while playing against Bristol last month and this prompted him to announce his retirement. He admitted: “After that game, I said: ‘I can’t keep doing this. It’s not fair on my family; it’s not fair on the club’.”
Marler says choosing to give up playing for his country was an easy decision, explaining: “It hasn’t felt that hard. It hasn’t felt like a big decision because I’ve been thinking about it for some time. I really enjoyed my time with England but as soon as I had kids, it completely flipped my perspective.”
Marler has since clarified his comments on social media, stating he had never “deliberately” done anything on a rugby pitch to get a ban. He said: “I would like to clarify my comments on @TheRugbyPod this morning that have been taken out of context. I have never deliberately done anything on a rugby pitch – or off it – to get a ban. I was simply reflecting on my occasional irrational behaviour when England camps were looming and trying to understand my actions a little bit better.”
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