Retired England & Lions prop Joe Marler has revealed he exchanged a series of unpleasantries with Red Rose boss Eddie Jones when the 59-year-old Australian attempted to subsitute the 18-stone loosehead in his final Test match for England.
The 28-year-old Harlequins player retired from international rugby in September in order to spend more time with his young family.
Marler made his Test debut in defeat to South Africa in Durban in 2012, and his final appearance was in victory over the Springboks in Cape Town last summer.
The expert scrummager wanted to go out with a bang and play the full 80 minutes in Newlands and was disgusted when Jones attempted to yank him out the game after half time.
Marler said that messages were delivered to the pitch from Jones via attack coach Scott Wisemantel.
“It was about 50 minutes on the clock in the last test and Wisey came on and was like ‘Mate, the boss says you’ve got five more minutes’,” said Marler, per The Sun.
“And I said, ‘Wisey, you can tell him to get f*****!’ He was like, ‘Errr… I’m not going to do that Joe,’ and then ran off with the waters.
“Another 10 minutes went by and he came back on and said: ‘Last effort mate, last couple of minutes.’
“I said: ‘Wisey, honestly, you’ve got the mic on now. Tell the boss, get f*****! I am staying on mate, and we are seeing this f****** job out.’
“I was shattered, finished the game, done, I had made my decision. We were in the after-match function and I’m sitting there on one of the stools with a couple of boys and a glass of red.
“Someone taps me on the shoulder and it was Eddie. He goes: ‘F****** loved that!’ I was like, ‘What?’ He goes, ‘F****** loved that!’ I was like, ‘What do you mean?’ And he was like, ‘You know…!’
“Because of my mindset of where I was at, you don’t really think of, ‘Hang on a minute, I’ve just told the boss to get f*****!’.”
Marler admitted when speaking on Joe’s House of Rugby podcast that he would love to be playing for England against Wales on Saturday, but insists he has no regrets over his international retirement despite Mako Vunipola’s injury-enforced absence.
He revealed Jones has not been in contact about coming out of retirement and while he did not completely close the door on doing so in the future, he said adding to his 59 caps was “'highly unlikely.'
The prop did also admit that England versus Wales was his favourite fixture to play in because of the hostility of the Welsh supporters.
“I haven’t got a single regret about my decision to retire,” said the Quins prop.
“There have been moments watching the games when I thought: ‘I would love to be part of that,’ but that’s the same as fans watching it. I would love to be part of that but you make choices in you life.
“You make decisions in your life that you think are the best thing for you first and foremost. But also for the people around (me) and the choice I have made is the right choice for me and the right choice for my family.
“I’ll happily go down the Principality and get stuck in. I’d love to, that was always the one game I’d look forward to. But my priorities have changed. I’d love to be out there playing the game, getting in the mix but that’s not my priority now.”
A mainstay of England’s front row since 2012, Marler won the Six Nations in 2016 and 2017 and perhaps his greatest achievement was a call-up to the British and Irish Lions squad for their tour of New Zealand in 2017.
But he has long struggled with the emotional and mental toll of being away from his family for long periods.
Marler has had highs and lows in an England shirt and is a complex character, but he gave everything on the pitch for his country and will be remembered for his dominant displays at the heart of England’s scrum.