Joe Marler hopes new holistic lifestyle extends special career to 2023 Rugby World Cup

The rugby world is lucky to have role models like Joe Marler, who would be the first to admit he wasn’t always an example worth following.

England and Harlequins fans will be well aware of his growth in recent years, gradually curing his game of the disciplinary dalliances that once cast him in an unfortunate light. Now, the 79-cap international is focused on enjoying what’s left of his professional career, and a holistic approach to living could prove key to his chances of featuring under Eddie Jones at the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

“I’m constantly striving to find balance between my work life, my home life, family life, trying to be a good dad and husband, trying to check in with my friends, having some time with myself to make sure I’m alright, all while still trying to be a professional rugby player,” Marler told Mirror Sport.

It’s a far cry from the Marler of old, who would have fit into the more ‘old-school’ understanding of what masculinity means. The loosehead prop has become a staunch advocate for mental health and last year starred in the Sky documentary ‘Big Boys Don’t Cry’, exploring his own struggles with depression.

He’ll explore another side of himself later this year when he appears in the ITV special ‘Queen for the Night’. Hosted by Lorraine Kelly and featuring the likes of Mr. Motivator and comedian Rob Beckett, Marler will undergo a drag queen makeover as he dives deeper into a burgeoning television career.

In the latest step on his path to contentment, Marler has partnered with Bioglan Supplements, whose approach to wellness and maintenance made for an “easy fit.” The Quins talisman admits he once considered wife Daisy “a hippie” due to her interest in holistic living, but a greater acceptance for how mental wellbeing affects physical health has altered his view.






Joe Marler has partnered with Bioglan Supplements to promote their 'In Bioglan Balance' campaign


Joe Marler has partnered with Bioglan Supplements to promote their ‘In Bioglan Balance’ campaign
(
Bioglan)

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He chuckles: “I’m trying to gauge my balance on. . .probably a daily level, to be honest. I wake up most mornings going ‘Right, how’s today going to go? What do I need to do to make sure there are more positives than negatives?'”

Such questions are increasingly important as far as Marler’s on-pitch career is concerned, with the front-rower set to enter the final year of his contract at The Stoop. The conclusion of that deal dovetails neatly with next year’s World Cup in France, and his eyes widen as a knowing head shakes at the prospect of another extension.

June 9 marked the 10-year anniversary of Marler’s England debut, a 22-17 defeat to South Africa in Durban. It’s a mark of his modesty that he was unaware of the date’s significance, and the renowned ‘big kid’ doesn’t necessarily feel like one of his country’s elder statesmen.

“Can I class myself as a 10-year vet when I’ve retired 100 times,” he asks, having called time on his England career in 2018 only to return for a World Cup the following year. “With the amount of retirements and bans I’ve had. . .I can probably only class myself as a two-year vet, so that’s probably why I’m still a giant child.

“My mind is a lot younger than my body, as my actions at times probably show. . .If I was not to play for England again, I would be very content and happy with how most of my career has gone.”

And for good reason. He’s helped his country win three Six Nations titles in recent years, including the Grand Slam success of 2016. His club career has also proved productive, winning two Premiership titles before being knocked out of this year’s semi-finals by Saracens on Saturday.






Joe Marler is also an ambassador for Sports Slam, a new initiative helping children find their favourite sport


Joe Marler is also an ambassador for Sports Slam, a new initiative helping children find their favourite sport
(
Sports Direct and Joe Magowan)

An air of humility rings true with Marler, who is “acutely aware” of his age—he’ll turn 33 just before next year’s World Cup—but would “love to be able to contribute” in any way he can. He lauded Leicester‘s Ellis Genge as England’s “out-and-out starter” at loosehead, also praising “young pup” Bevan Rodd.

He goes on to name Mako Vunipola as a rival, noting his Saracens counterpart “is younger than me, even though he looks 50 years older.” While he’s often portrayed the role of jester throughout his career, Marler is assured he’s ‘always taken the professional side of my career seriously.’

It’s only natural that with experience comes the benefit of hindsight, and Marler isn’t too proud to learn from his lessons. Asked what wisdom he would dispense to an 18-year-old version of himself if given the chance, his answer is to the point.

“‘Be less of a twat. Just be nicer, Joe.’ I’d have said ‘Just be a little bit nicer.’ I’d have liked to realise that a bit earlier.” Asked if he believes he’s following his own advice in the present day, he replied: “I’m trying, definitely trying.”

As he approaches the end of his Quins commitments, Marler is at the age where Premiership stars often head for the lucrative climes of France or Japan. Partner Daisy “doesn’t want to move” after Marler is done with the 71-mile commute to Twickenham, however, as he gives a resounding “No” to moving further afield.

As for a potential transition into coaching or rugby administration, he’s not holding his breath: “I can see myself doing more coaching and admin in the drag world than I could in rugby. And a lot of that comes down to the fact I don’t think there’s a lot of people in the rugby admin hierarchy who want me anywhere near it.






Joe Marler has cultivated a reputation as one of the most popular players in England


Joe Marler has cultivated a reputation as one of the most popular players in England
(
Getty Images)

“Jesus Christ, can you imagine me and [Sir] Bill Beaumont sat in a room together trying to sort stuff out? I’m not even allowed to smile at a press conference…because that makes you lose World Cup finals! Ridiculous, I wouldn’t last five seconds.”

For all the focus on next year’s World Cup and the uncertainty of it all, Marler has already secured a much more valuable prize. No longer at odds with the duality of an intense rugby career while chasing fulfilment off the pitch, holistic living has granted him a deeper appreciation of what matters most.

“Having kids, having my lovely wife giving me that perspective, and then meeting loads of different people in various things I do freed me up a bit,” he said. “It’s nice to be kind.”

Rugby Player Joe Marler has partnered with supplement brand Bioglan for their first series ‘In Bioglan Balance’ alongside influencer Mat Carter to show how he finds balance in his busy life. To watch the series, visit @bioglansupplements on Instagram.

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