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England: Marler draws on South Africa experience as reference points

Joe Marler will win only his fourth cap for England against Fiji on Saturday, but already he has experienced a defining moment in both his international career and the destiny of the national team, writes Alex Lowe.

That is how Marler reflects on the first 20 minutes of England's second Test against South Africa in Johannesburg during the summer, when the Springboks rampaged into a 22-3 lead.

The pace and power at which South Africa set about England at Ellis Park was a rude awakening for Marler in his second Test. He suddenly knew what international rugby was about as England went on to lose 36-27.

He said: "Those 20 minutes will stay for me for the rest of my career. South Africa were hammering us and I thought 'unless we pull our fingers out we will get 50 points on us here'. That was when I realised 'this is a step up'.

"But it is good to have those moments as reference points. You think 'that is how I want to make someone else feel' because I don't want to experience that again."

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