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Six Nations: Joe Marler’s England return inspired by trophy hunt

Joe Marler came on as a second-half substitute in England’s Rugby World Cup final defeat by South Africa
Guinness Six Nations
Dates: 1 February-14 March
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England prop Joe Marler says he has prolonged his international career to help deliver the silverware his team-mates deserve.

Marler, 29, retired from international rugby in September 2018, only to return to the fold nine months later to feature in the Rugby World Cup.

England went on to lose in the final to South Africa at Japan 2019.

“I think this team deserve something to show for it, something to actually lift,” he told BBC Sport.

“So I am here to give that another crack…to give all I can to the cause.”

England begin their Six Nations campaign away to France on Sunday, aiming to win the title for the first time since 2017.

Asked if he would have had gone back into international retirement had England won the Rugby World Cup, Marler said he “suspected that might have been the case”.

However, he refused to put a time frame on how long he will continue in Test rugby saying he has “no idea” what he will do beyond the Six Nations.

Head coach Eddie Jones has written that he wished he had selected Marler ahead of loose-head rival Mako Vunipola for the final against the Springboks after seeing the England scrum suffer in defeat.

The pair, along with Leicester Ellis Genge, are the loose-head specialists in England’s Six Nations squad.

‘There are still what-ifs’

Matt Proudfoot, who represented Scotland during his playing career, was part of the South Africa coaching staff during the Rugby World Cup

Marler admits that the Rugby World Cup final defeat still preys on his mind.

“There are moments, there are what-ifs, but I have had so much on my plate, the world keeps turning,” he said.

Matt Proudfoot, who helped mastermind the Springboks win that day, has switched camps after being recruited as England’s new forwards coach.

“I remember an exchange me and him had after the final as we were walking around and letting it all soak in. He walked up, we congratulated him but gave him a bit of stick as well,” remembers Marler.

“I didn’t think we would remember that, but he said ‘you gave me a bit of a lip at the end there didn’t you Joe? You were hoping I forgot that?’

“I said, ‘I was hoping you would when you were announced as forwards coach!'”

Article courtesy of BBC Sport
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