Joe Marler has revealed that he regrets how he approached the Lions tour in 2017 after missing out on selection for this summer’s tour of South Africa.
The England prop toured New Zealand with the Lions four years ago, but didn’t manage to win a test cap against the All Blacks, only playing in the warm-up games.
Marler, who has not been included on the Lions’ long-list of players ahead of the 36-man squad announcement, told WalesOnline that he was “a bit of a shit” when it became apparent he wouldn’t play against the All Blacks.
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“I didn’t get an email. Bit gutted. I’m not surprised, but I’d have loved to have gone. I’d love to have gone with a different approach to it than I did in 2017,” Marler said.
“I remember sitting down talking to Rory Best on that tour. He said he regretted the way he’d approached 2013 and the memories he had of it.
“It was pretty obvious from the start that he wasn’t going to make the Test team and he let those feelings become bitter and cloud his enjoyment of the whole experience.”
‘I was a bit of a shit at times.’
Marler ultimately found himself in a similar position to Best, when he was selected to start in several of the Lions’ mid-week games, which is often a sign that the player will not be included in the test series.
Despite Best’s best efforts, Marler struggled to accept being a “mid-week” player and admitted that he wishes he had approached the tour differently.
“[Best] wanted to make sure that in 2017, the mid-weekers didn’t make the same mistake that he did. And there was part of that for me in 2017,” Marler commented.
“It was pretty obvious from the start that I wasn’t going to get a sniff of the tests and I was a bit of a shit at times. I regret having those feelings towards it.
“I still had an unbelievable experience with the friends I made for life, but I’d have liked to have gone back this time around and would have tried to help out.”
While the Harlequins prop didn’t mange to win a test cap for the Lions, he did play for the touring side five times against the New Zealand Provincial Barbarians, the Blues, the Highlanders, the Chiefs and the Hurricanes.