Marler seeking psychological help


England and Harlequins prop Joe Marler is seeking psychological help following a pair of on-field incidents which have resulted in suspensions.

Marler was handed a two-week ban for calling Samson Lee "gypsy boy" during England's 25-21 win over Wales in the Six Nations in March.

The 25-year-old's first match back from suspension came in Quins' Challenge Cup semi-final against Grenoble at Twickenham Stoop, and after appearing to aim a kick at the head of Grenoble's Arnaud Heguy, Marler was handed another two-week ban.

The prop revealed he is seeing sports psychologist Jeremy Snape in order to gain an understanding of the shift in his mentality on the pitch, acknowledging things have "gone too far".

"I was up for that Welsh game. I saw it as an opportunity to get hold of Samson and try to rough him up, as we each try to do to each other," Marler said in a candid interview with The Sunday Times.

"I honestly did not know as I said it that what I said was out of order. I put an arm around Samson as we went off at half-time and said sorry.

"During the last Six Nations I spoke to Jeremy. I said: 'You seem a very nice bloke, but I really do not see the point of psychology'. Then I had to ring him back and ask him if we could have a chat.

"We are seeing how it goes, then we make a decision whether I need to see someone with a clinical background as well. I know I have to make a change.

"I do play better when I am on the edge and sometimes you just have to try to be polite to people. I have to get a grip on that balance. I know things have gone too far."

Marler was called to a hearing after the incident with Heguy, and he revealed he did not try to defend himself in front of the panel in any way.  

"It was not just that one incident. In the first half I had lost it completely. You can see me running round as if looking for something. At half-time I ignored everyone and went straight into the shower on my own," he continued.

"There was nothing in my head, I couldn't focus on anything. All I wanted to do was rip that bar off the shower and kick the s*** out of it. I felt like a petulant teenager.

"I realised that either I keep thinking the whole world is against me and everything I do, or the reality is that the spotlight is on me but it is nothing like as bad as I think. The damage had already been done in that match, though.

"I said to my QC [lawyer] that I was not interested in trying to sway the panel this way or that way. So I told the panel: 'I kicked him, I kicked out and did wrong. I am not going to try to put it any other way'.

"I told them I recognised that I needed help and I was getting help and whatever they gave me was fine."