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Andy Goode Column: Joe Marler Is At His Best When He Is Playing On The Edge

France v England - International Match

Joe Marler has to keep playing on the edge, but he must keep his temper in check.

Much of the criticism aimed at Joe Marler is over the top. The remark he directed toward Samson Lee was an off the cuff comment that some people took a great deal more offence than others. But he served his punishment.

Obviously when he came back he kicked Grenoble hooker, Arnaud Heguy, but Joe plays on the edge. In fact Joe plays his best rugby when he’s on the edge, but he must learn to control his temper and emotions.

Joe only has to look at Dylan Hartley for inspiration. Dylan suffered a number of suspensions, but he has come out the other end and is now England captain.

NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 20: Northampton captain Dylan Hartley is shown the red card and sent off by referee JP Doyle during the Aviva Premiership match between Northampton Saints and Leicester Tigers at Franklin's Gardens on December 20, 2014 in Northampton, England. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Joe is a quality player and has been for a number of years, and I think he is at his best when he is at his most abrasive.

Although Matt Mullan is pushing for a place in the England squad, Joe and Mako Vunipola are the best two looseheads in the country. All Joe needs to do is keep playing aggressively and check the red mist when it comes down.

Eddie Jones likes spiky characters in his team, and Joe fits that criteria perfectly. I am sure Eddie will have a word with Joe and tell him that controlled aggression is the way forward, because he is going to be provoked by opposition players now.

Opponents will try and get under his skin, teams have done that for years to different characters. As a result, in the future Joe will have to smile, keep his emotions in check, be strong at scrum and ruck time and be physical that way.

To have Graham Rowntree as his coach and mentor at Harlequins will be fantastic for Marler in that regard. Everyone loves working with Graham and has learnt a lot from him. I know Wigg very well, he was a senior pro at Leicester when I was coming through the academy.

He took me under his wing and gave me a rollocking when I deserved it, and a pat on the back when I needed it. Graham is a top guy who knows his stuff and he is a fantastic signing for Harlequins.

Harlequins Announce Their New Coaching Team

Although Quins play a lovely offloading game, they have struggled to win tight matches in the past. After his time at Leicester and England, Graham understands what it takes to win, and that you can’t just have plan A like Harlequins do sometimes.

John Kingston will put his stamp on it, tweak a few things as the new Director of Rugby. Nick Easter coming in as defence coach is a great appointment, he understands the Premiership and knows the players at the club.

It’s an open secret that Nick has been coaching Wimbledon for a number of years, he is an intelligent guy who can bring a lot to the role. You don’t always need experienced coaches, take London Irish for example.

They appointed Tom Coventry, an experienced coach from New Zealand, but he didn’t know the Premiership. Nick does and has a relationship with the players at Quins.

I’m not saying Quins will be better, because what Conor O’Shea achieved has been amazing, but they will be slightly different.

Andy Goode, Pundit Arena

 

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