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Joe Marler described England’s scrum session with Georgia on Tuesday as ‘worthwhile’ and labelled his counterparts ‘tough blokes’ as England continue their quest to become the best pack in world rugby.
Steve Borthwick’s men took part in scrum and lineout sessions at Latymer Upper School as part of a two-day training session this week, and Marler was complimentary in his assessment of the experience.
“We had a good hit out against them; it was a good session, tough. They are tough blokes,” said the 27-year-old.
“I think they had already scrummed and mauled in the morning (before the arranged session), so they were pretty warmed up. But some good questions were asked, so we will look at the tape and go back and work on things.”
With the majority of Georgia’s pack playing in France’s Top 14 league, Marler is well-versed in the style of play they adopt, and knew exactly what to expect.
“You come across quite a few of them when you play the French teams - a lot of Georgian props ply their trade out there - and they are naturally strong,” the Quin added.
“I know one of their strength and conditioning guys who used to be an intern at Quins, so I was chatting to him and I asked if they were just gym strong, or whether they had that old man farm strength, and he said both. It definitely felt like that out there with them.”
Marler hasn’t featured in a Test match since last year’s Old Mutual Wealth Series win over Samoa and the prop explains head coach Eddie Jones was very matter-of-fact when addressing his discipline of late.
“He was very stern with his warning and made it very clear to me where I stand, and what I need to do to keep my place in the side,” said Marler.
“Whenever you relinquish your position in the squad it opens the door for someone else, but you can never control what Eddie is thinking in terms of selection.
“Watching the last five minutes of Saturday’s game I was gutted, because England v Wales is my favourite fixture.
“I need to knuckle down now because I’m missing out on things I want to be a part of.”
England play Scotland in Edinburgh on Saturday 24 February in the third round of the NatWest 6 Nations, having already overcome Italy and Wales, as they look to become the only side to win the tournament three times in-a-row.
Marler has been sharing a room with James Haskell - another player yet to feature for England in 2018 - and although now free to play, the duo have been on tailored training programs, something Marler believes will benefit them, if they are selected to play at Murrayfield.
“We’ve been up at the crack of dawn being flogged – rightly so – we hadn’t a game to save ourselves for, so we might as well have pushed ourselves to make physical improvements,” he added.
“The fact I have have trained above game intensity will stand me in good stead if selected for the Scotland game. But playing a Test match, you'll always struggle to adapt to that first five minutes.”