Conor O’Shea backs Joe Marler’s decision to make himself unavailable for England
The prop had established himself as a key player in Eddie Jones’ squad and featured in all five of their Grand Slam matches
England will face Australia in three Tests – in Brisbane on 11 June, Melbourne a week later and Sydney on 25 June
Former Harlequins Director of Rugby Conor O’Shea has supported Joe Marler’s decision to pull out of England’s tour to Australia to have a rest.
The 25-year-old has had a turbulent season; he was suspended for two weeks for kicking Grenoble’s Arnaud Heguy in April, which came directly after a two-match ban for calling Wales’ Samson Lee “Gypsy boy” during a Six Nations game.
After speaking to England head coach, Marler has withdrawn from the England squad for their match against Wales a week on Sunday and their three match tour against the Wallabies in June, which is a decision his former Director of Rugby completelt supports.
“When I heard the reaction from the French crowd that he got when his name was read out in Lyon last weekend all I could think was ‘thank God he’s not on the pitch to hear that,'” O’Shea said.
“I was down in Australia in 1994, and I remember trying to put in a contact lens, my picture being put up on the big screen, and someone saying, ‘go back and put on your makeup.’
“You know Australia will not be backwards in coming forward, and all things considered they have made the decision that is right for Joe in the long term.
“I know what he’s gone through over the last few months, and I respect whatever decision he and Eddie have made.”
And Marler indicated the pressure of a troubled season has taken its toll on him.
“It has been a very enjoyable but sometimes difficult season,” said Marler in a statement released by the Rugby Football Union.
“After speaking to Eddie, I have decided that the best thing for me is to take a rest and not go to Australia.
“Whenever you play for England, you have to be 100 per cent, and unfortunately, I’m not in that place at the moment.
“It’s not a decision I’ve come to lightly, but I feel I would be letting my team-mates and my country down if I were to tour.”