England star Joe Marler broke down in coach’s arms after rowing with wife

Earl and England look ahead to Rugby World Cup semi-final

Joe Marler is famously one of the England squad’s principal jokers, but his professional rugby career has been far from plain sailing. Last year, the 33-year-old reflected on one particular low point, which saw him break down in front of his coach after a family row.

Marler broke through into the professional ranks in 2009 with Harlequins – the club he remains with to this day. Three years after making his debut, the muscle-bound prop was a full international with England.

Three Six Nations titles and 86 caps later, Marler is still a prominent player on the international stage, with Steve Borthwick’s side gearing up for a crunch Rugby World Cup semi-final against South Africa this weekend.

Marler has spoken openly about his mental health struggles in the past, and last year revealed that an argument with wife Daisy sparked an emotional interaction with his coach.

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“I’ve done some work on myself, I’ve learnt loads in the last couple of years and picked up tools and hopefully gained more self-awareness, but there’s still stuff I haven’t dealt with,” explained the 33-year-old in an interview with The Times.

“The biggest breakdown I had was back in 2018, the day after a massive row with Daisy, crying in my coach’s arms, saying, ‘I don’t want to be here any more. I’m a bad person.'”

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On whether things are improving, Marler continued: “It’s an ongoing process. A lot of people tend to say, ‘Oh, so you’re better now? You’re cured?’ I remember sitting waiting for some fish and chips and this lad I’d grown up with bowls up and says, ‘All right, Joe, how you doing? You got depressed, didn’t you? All fixed now? Still doing the rugby?’

“I don’t think you ever reach a point where you can say you’re cured. It’s more about discovery, whether that’s serious trauma or whether you’re just that way inclined.”

Marler had to make do with a cameo off the bench on Sunday, with England riding their luck in a close-fought 30-24 win over Fiji to book their spot in the Rugby World Cup semi-finals.

A date with the Springboks awaits, and while Borthwick’s side will go in as clear underdogs, the England boss has already credited his ‘written-off’ players for making it into the latter stages of the tournament.

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