England international Joe Marler has taken to social media to hit out at comments made by Sir Clive Woodward about his attitude in the build-up to the Rugby World Cup final last year.
Woodward described the behaviour of Marler and teammate Dan Cole during a press conference prior to the final, as “embarrassing”, comparing the duo to comedians Laurel and Hardy. According to the former head coach, it was a sign of the side’s complacency heading into the decider.
“I don’t normally go to the press conferences despite the fact that I was working over there for the Mail and ITV,” explained Woodward in a webinar for St Mary’s University Twickenham as reported by RugbyPass.
“Honestly, I sat there and it was like Laurel and Hardy. I know they are on the bench but this is 48 hours from the World Cup final. It was, to me, poor and that is me being polite. It was really poor.
“South African journalists who I knew well came up to me after the press conference after these two had finished larking around after 20 minutes – it wasn’t larking around, it was embarrassing – and they said, ‘Well if that is the mood in the England camp we have got half a chance’. That just said everything to me.”
Taking to Twitter on Wednesday evening, Marler told the 2003 World Cup-winning head coach to “change the record”.
“Change the record Sir Clive – you should be grateful you can ‘milk the cow’ for another three years”, he wrote.
Though they started on the bench, both Marler and Cole saw plenty of action during England’s 12-32 defeat to South Africa. Cole was introduced early in the first-half as a replacement for the injured Kyle Sinckler while Marler joined the play shortly after the break.
The Harlequins prop has been embroiled in controversy in 2020 after he was banned for 10 weeks for grabbing the groin of Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones during their Six Nations match at Twickenham Stadium.