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Joe Marler lets reporter into secret surrounding headed assist against Japan

BY Jack Tunney  ·  Monday Sep 18, 2023

England defeated Japan in the second of their pool-stage matches yesterday as they progress further towards qualification for the quarter-finals.

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It was arguably not quite the comprehensive victory that we saw a week earlier against Argentina, but the scoreline ended in England’s favour with the bonus point win adding five points to the table.

England’s second try was one that left the fans stunned after Joe Marler appeared to knock the ball forward with his head before captain Courtney Lawes touched down to take England 6 points clear at the time, with an easy conversion in front of the posts to come.

For those that a nuanced with the rules of the game, the use of the head is not a widely used tactic in the sport, but Marler clearly knew what he was doing on this occasion.

In an interview with sky sports news, Joe Marler said: “I was practicing with Coley and Jamie George in our activation back at the hotel we were [Pretends to head the ball] doing some of that, getting us fired up, and I take huge inspiration from Roberto De Zerbi and his mighty Seagulls who did a demolition job on United yesterday, and just taking huge inspiration from them and finding a way to help the boys score”

Head coach Steve Borthwick had the following to say about the performance: “At the end of the day the players found a way and that was the important thing. We are seeing growth now in our attack and I think we are going to see more growth in our attack.

“I believe I’ve got a group of players who know what it is to perform on the big stage.”

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