Marler in confident mood

Date published: March 16 2017

England loosehead prop Joe Marler says his side feel under less stress than at this point last year ahead of their final Six Nations game.

The visitors to Dublin are one match away from picking up back-to-back Grand Slams, with Ireland standing in their path of the impressive feat.

Eddie Jones' men are also on the verge of a record 19-straight wins in Test rugby and Marler revealed they enter the fixture in confident mood.

"We have moved it on again. We have stepped it up in terms of the attitude, the way we approach the match," he told Press Association Sport.

"Last year it took us by surprise. We were playing well and winning games, but we weren't as confident.

"We didn't really know ourselves as well as we know ourselves now. We're looking forward to giving it another crack at the weekend against Ireland.

"There's definitely less stress this week than at the same time last year. We can take that confidence that we've done it before, but the challenge ahead of us is as big, if not bigger."

Marler reached his 50th cap in their 61-21 win against Scotland but admitted he wasn't keen on the pre-game tradition of running out first.

"The boys turned up and made it a good day for me. I'm very grateful. I don't think I can repay that. It was a great day and a great win that sets us up nicely for this week," he said.

"Running out on to the pitch by myself was awkward. Very awkward. I didn't want to do it and I said 'I'm not doing it' to Dan Cole and Dylan Hartley.

"They said 'you are doing it' and I said 'no, I'm not'. They said 'you have to' and I said 'really?'

"And they said 'you have to do it, we all have to do it, you'll regret it if you don't do it.' So I went 'all right, I'll do it then but don't leave me out too long'. Because I know what they're like.

"They'd be like 'leave him like that and make it even more awkward'. When I actually did it I was glad I did do it but it was still marginally awkward.

"If you get out there and they're clapping. What do you do?' Clap back?"

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