Retiring prop Joe Marler has admitted that he purposely got banned in club games in order to miss training camps and Tests for England.
Six days ago, the loosehead prop announced his shock retirement from Test rugby at the age of 28, citing family reasons for his decision.
Speaking to The Rugby Pod this week, Marler revealed how he would seek a way out of England camps.
‘The anxiety I would get about having to leave and go away again would start to manifest itself in giving away even 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 said.
According to The Guardian, the timeline of Marler’s recent ill-discipline correlates with impending spells away with England. He was named in the England squad to train in Bristol at the start of last week but pulled out for personal reasons on the Sunday before his decision to retire was made public. The day before, during Harlequins’ defeat by Bristol, he received a yellow card for a forearm to the head area of an opponent.
‘I played like an absolute helmet, which often happened around England time,’ Marler added. ‘That mindset manifested itself. After that [club] game last week, I said to myself “I can’t keep doing this. It’s not fair on my family; it’s not fair on the club”.’