Just 12 months from the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan, Joe Marler's retirement has come as a surprise to many, not least former England and London Wasps flanker, Lawrence Dallaglio.
The former national captain has seen Marler's decision to step away from international Rugby at such a crucial time as "worrying".
Having stepped away from the national stage himself back in 2007 in order to spend more time with his family and pursue punditry, Dallaglio says he sympathises with Marler but sees the timing od his retirement as a warning sign to the RFU and other unions.
Having grown tired with the relentless nature of representing his country, Marler steps away from England duty at the age of just 28, having been capped 58 times.
“Being with England you have to spend an incredible amount of time away and I could not do that anymore,” Marler said yesterday.
Speaking on BT Sport's Rugby Tonight, Dallaglio suggested England follow the New Zealand model, which sees their players given sabbaticals in order to extend their international careers.
“I think the timing has caught everyone a little bit by surprise, because the natural time for him to retire would be in 12 months time – after the World Cup, and then say ‘look I’ve had enough'
“But you can understand, he said it’s relentless and he doesn’t feel like he can give 100%. I just feel sad that at 28 – he fells like he has to retire.
“And I think maybe, that’s a little early warning sign to the RFU and other unions that actually maybe we should be doing something to make sure the players don’t make that decision, and they can give 100%.
“In New Zealand – they tend to give them a sabbatical every now and again and it prolongs their career. Maybe it’s the start of something that we’ll start to see a little bit more often.”
Marler has also received praise from fellow pros for his honest decision. Former Harlequins winger, Ugo Monye, said Marler's decision to focus on his family rather than continuing to earn highly with England is one which should be applauded.
“Let’s face it the financial reward playing for England is great. A 25 large a game – the easy decision is to just carry on playing isn’t it? But he wants to do himself justice, he wants to do the badge justice and you’ve got to only but respect Joe Marler.”News Now - Sport News