Marler seeking professional help

Date published: May 1 2016

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England and Harlequins prop Joe Marler admits that he has sought professional help from a psychologist following his suspensions.

Marler was suspended for two matches and ordered to pay £20,000 to an equalities charity after his "gypsy boy" slur to Wales prop Samson Lee during the Six Nations.

He returned to action for Harlequins in the Challenge Cup semi-final against Grenoble, only to be suspended again for two weeks after kicking out at hooker Arnaud Héguy.

Recalling the Lee incident and how he felt afterwards, Marler revealed he had made contact with Jeremy Snape, a former England cricketer who now works as a sports performance psychologist.

"It was a question of continuing to tell everyone to f— off, or go away myself and crawl under a rock," Marler told the Sunday Times.

"I saw it as an opportunity to get hold of Samson and try to rough him up, as we all try to do to each other. I honestly did not know as I said it that what I said was out of order. I put my arm around Samson as we went off at half-time and said sorry."

Marler also went into detail about his mental state during the Grenoble match and explained his conduct at the hearing when he swiftly pleaded guilty.

"In the first half I had lost it completely," Marler added.

"At half-time I went straight into the shower on my own. There was nothing in my head. I couldn't focus on anything… I felt like a petulant teenager.

"After a few deep breaths I realised that either I kept thinking the whole world was against me and everything I do, or the reality is that the spotlight is on me but is nothing like as bad as I think.

"I said to my QC 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."

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