Marler ready to deliver big performance against Hurricanes
Joe Marler feels like he owes his Lions teammates a performance on Tuesday and the England prop has the Hurricanes in his sights to do just that.
“I can only play as well as I can, do my job as well as I can for the team.”
Marler starts his fourth game of the Tour in Wellington against the reigning Super Rugby champions – his previous outing came a week ago against the Chiefs.
The midweek side claimed an impressive victory that night in Hamilton but Marler was left disappointed with a first-half yellow card.
However, the prop has put that behind him and insists the whole squad are looking for an improvement this week after defeat in the first Test on Saturday against the All Blacks.
“I can only play as well as I can, do my job as well as I can for the team,” he said.
“At times on Tour I have not done that but I am fully committed to doing that on Tuesday night.
“There is no extra motivation, we are motivated to be playing the reigning Super Rugby champions, they top all the stats and have unbelievable players.
“It is a hell of a game to be involved in and I am excited about it.”
Marler missed out on selection for that first Test with Mako Vunipola and Jack McGrath getting the nod as the two looseheads in the matchday 23.
But the Harlequins prop is not losing any sleep over that, and instead is hoping to give his all to the cause on Tuesday.
Need to catch up on the team for Tuesday’s game against @Hurricanesrugby?
— British&Irish Lions (@lionsofficial) June 25, 2017
“I am not in control of that (Test selection), it is up to Gatland and that lot to pick the team,” he added.
“Steve (Borthwick) for me has been very good at making sure these are the things to work on if I want to be part of the Test team.
“Borthers said today, it is a lot easier to learn from a loss, there are things to pick up on. Those midweek games weren’t actually a bad thing for us to pull our fingers out.
“Going 1-0 down early in the series, we are under the pump and in a position where we have to win this next game to make the Tour go the entire length, so you will see a reaction this week both in training and more importantly on the weekend.”
And Marler admits the squad unity has been vital to keeping the mood high in camp over the last four weeks touring the length and breadth of New Zealand.
“It was not until after the second or third game that you really start to get to know the guys,” he added.
“Particularly for me playing with Rory Best OBE from the start, training together from the start and I am enjoying getting to know that midweek team.
“It was not until the second or third game that we started really gelling and I think we showed that against the Chiefs in the performance and getting the win.
“It has taken a little while, and that is what has been the toughest thing about the Tour, getting to know everyone and trying to play the best way we can all together.
“These are players I had played against and you do have a beer after those games but you don’t really get to know them.
“You get to know them when they are sleeping next to you, picking their arse and farting all night.
“That is when you really get to know someone, so that has been my highlight of the Tour.”
But it is his England and Quins teammate Kyle Sinckler that has really thrown himself into the cause the most – according to Marler.
“Kyle has done very well for himself and made a great impression both on and off the field,” he added.
“The first training week down in Wales, we had done quite a tough session with the 14 of us and me him and Besty were going through some scrum stuff at the end of the session – just talking about binds and Sincks was there shouting: ‘BESTY, I WANT IT LIKE THIS, I GO DOWN EARLY,” and stuff like that.
“Besty was there just going ‘Calm down Sinck!’ and Sinck apologised: ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry but this is the best day of my life!’
“Best looked at me like: ‘Is he always like this?,’ then he says: ‘I hope there are some better days than this Sinck because we have just been flogged!’
“But Sinck was saying: ‘I am living the dream’ – he has gone down really well and I am really pleased he got on the bench and then on the pitch on Saturday in the Test.”