Joe Marler has reported there was an added edge to England training on Tuesday ahead of their Six Nations clash with Ireland at Twickenham this weekend.
“The mood is good. Sun’s out. Great training session. A really nice tasty one, actually. And boys are really looking forward to another game at Twickenham,” said Marler.
“I’d say it was a bit more of a step up. There is definitely a bigger sense of ‘okay, Ireland are very good’. England-Wales games are always big and you know that come kick-off it is going to be tasty there.
“But with the greatest respect Wales were missing a fair few names and there was probably a bit more expectation on us to win that game whereas Ireland are full bore, they have been together for some time now and it was definitely noticeable in training where boys were like ‘okay, serious game this Saturday’.
“Not saying that last Saturday wasn’t serious because I know how the media sometimes can twist things. That is a generalisation I know – I’m just double-checking and covering my own arse.”
Questioned on what made the training taster, he added: “Yeah, Gengey punched me four times and he put my nose this way and then he put it that way and then the other two were like rib shots.
“No, the hits tend to be a little more stickier and there is a little bit more sharpness. Whenever I try and make a gag sometimes I get a couple of laughs out of it but today they were not having any of it. It was almost they were looking at me like ‘shut up’ and I was like ‘okay, right, you lot are serious today’.”
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Expected England XV to play Ireland
- 15. Freddie Steward
- 14. Max Malins
- 11. Jack Nowell
- 13. Joe Marchant for Elliot Daly
- 12. Henry Slade