December 5, 2022

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‘I was a bit of a s*** at times’: Marler reveals his regret over 2017 Lions tour

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England prop Joe Marler says he was ‘gutted’ to be left out of Warren Gatland’s plans for this summer’s Lions tour.

Despite being one of the form props in the Premiership, Marler was left off the save-the-date mailing list ahead of Thursday’s squad announcement.

He featured in Gatland’s squad for tour of New Zealand in 2017, when was unable to force his way into the Test team.

Harlequins’ Joe Marler has been one of the form props in the Premiership this season

‘I didn’t get an email,’ said Marler. ‘A bit gutted. I’m not surprised, but I’d have loved to have gone.

‘I’d love to have gone with a different approach to it than I did in 2017. 

‘I remember sitting down talking to Rory Best on that tour. He said he regretted the way he’d approached 2013 and the memories he had of it. 

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‘It was pretty obvious from the start that he wasn’t going to make the Test team and he let those feelings become bitter and cloud his enjoyment of the whole experience. And he wanted to make sure that in 2017, the midweekers didn’t make the same mistake that he did.

The forward featured in Warren Gatland¿s squad for the Lions tour of New Zealand in 2017

The forward featured in Warren Gatland¿s squad for the Lions tour of New Zealand in 2017

The forward featured in Warren Gatland’s squad for the Lions tour of New Zealand in 2017

‘There was part of that for me in 2017. It was pretty obvious from the start that I wasn’t going to get a sniff of the Tests, and I was a bit of a s*** at times. I regret having those feelings towards it. 

‘I still had an unbelievable experience and friends I made for life. But I’d have liked to have gone back this time around and tried to help out in that regard.’

Marler pulled out of this year’s Six Nations because he did not want to spend time away from his family in a covid-secure bubble.

He added: ‘If you are Warren Gatland, would you go: It’s a pretty tight bubble, nine weeks away, it’s already tough enough as it is, do I need someone who’s got form of struggling mentally and away from home? Is that the right person to have on that tour? Probably not. Maybe? Who knows? 

‘Maybe it’s there are better players than me. There are pretty good players in the loosehead position, before having to consider someone who hasn’t played international rugby for 12 months and has got form of not being that good at not being away from home.’

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