Sights and Sounds: Marler gets the meme treatment, World Cups are a family affair
England prop and resident comedian Joe Marler joked his accidental header that set up a Courtney Lawes try in the side’s 34-12 win over Japan was actually a planned move, with Marler telling reporters he’d practiced for the moment alongside Jamie George and Dan Coles.
The prop played a fortuitous role in England’s second try when a handling error from Will Stuart saw the ball bounce off Marler’s head, only for it to be collected by Lawes who ran under the posts as the Japan defence stood in bafflement.
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While he joked he’d taken inspiration from his son’s favourite football team Brighton, many people on X [formerly Twitter] also found humour in the moment, posting their own memes of the try, while Brighton made an offer to have the 33-year-old join the squad following the World Cup.
“Great win last night, good luck for the rest of the tournament! Give us a call when it’s finished, we’ll need you for set pieces,” Brighton posted to Marler following the match.
Great win last night, good luck for the rest of tournament! Give us a call when it’s finished, we’ll need you for set pieces 😉😂
— Brighton & Hove Albion (@OfficialBHAFC) September 18, 2023
Marler’s UK Premiership side the Harlequins were quick to joke on X: “£500m and not a penny less, we know his worth”. Before they did their own photoshop job with the prop in a Brighton uniform.
Slabhead from Sussex
— Harlequins 🃏 (@Harlequins) September 18, 2023
Many others did their own photoshop work, while England Rugby clipped up the funny moment.
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) September 18, 2023
— No Context Marler (@NoContextMarler) September 18, 2023
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) September 18, 2023
Joe Marler 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣 pic.twitter.com/YrYbIYI3xS
— Magnar (@zacritic) September 18, 2023
It may not have been the prettiest try ever scored, but it’ll no doubt go down in history as one of the weirdest ever scored at a Rugby World Cup.
All Blacks’ Leinert-Brown pays special visit
All Blacks centre Anton Leinert-Brown has made a special journey to visit Namibia’s Le Roux Malan in hospital after the centre suffered a horrific ankle injury during his side’s loss to the All Blacks on Friday night.
Sliding in for a tackle in the wet conditions, Malan’s ankle got caught underneath him resulting in a horrible moment where the 24-year-old was left lying on the pitch with his ankle facing the wrong direction.
It was one of the ugliest moments of the tournament to date and saw Malan treated on the pitch for 18 minutes before he was eventually medicabbed off the pitch to a rousing ovation from the Stadium de Toulouse crowd.
Undergoing surgery over the weekend, Malan revealed the ankle fracture and dislocation weren’t as bad as initially feared, but he will still remain sidelined for up to six months.
“It turned out to be so much better than we initially thought. We thought the tibia was off but it’s only four to six months, which is unreal,” said Malan, who had surgery on the joint on Friday night.
“My left foot slid and I think my right foot was caught in the ground already, so when I made that initial contact with Beauden (Barrett) it just basically snapped. It’s a freak injury.”
Showing support for his opposition, Leinert-Brown visited Malan on Sunday, even presenting the Namibian with a signed All Blacks jersey.
“For someone like me who has been through shoulder surgery, I definitely feel his pain,” said Lienert-Brown.
“When you’re passionate and driven about a sport you love, when it’s stopped for six months like that it can be tough.
“But it’s good to see he is in awesome spirits.”
Rugby World Cups are a family affair
Playing at a Rugby World Cup is a special moment for any player, but for Romania centre Taylor Gontineac the World Cup holds an even more special meaning with his parents meeting all the way back at the 1995 edition in South Africa.
Taking part in the 1995 World Cup with Romania, Gontineac senior, also a centre, met his wife and Taylor’s mother in Cape Town after his side went down to the Springboks. Almost 30 years later his son ran out for Romania in their Pool B clash against the Springboks, a special moment for the 23-year-old.
“It’s a family history, my parents met after this match in South Africa in 1995 and I think if it wasn’t for that match I wouldn’t be here today,” he joked after getting his shot at playing the Springboks in Bordeaux on Sunday.
“It’s a nice little tribute for me and my family to play against South Africa, the world champions, more than 20 years after my dad. It’s fantastic and a wonderful feeling.”
Gontineac’s father stayed on briefly in South Africa before playing club rugby for 14 years in France, where his son Taylor was born, raised and now plays for Rouen Normandie.
Meanwhile, Italy will make history on Wednesday night when the Garbisi and Cannone siblings run out against Uruguay.
Paolo and Alessandro Garbisi, and Lorenzo and Niccolo Cannone are taking part in their first World Cup and with all four named to start it will be the first time that Italy have two sets of brothers starting in a World Cup game.
The Garbisi siblings have played together before with halfback Alessandro making his Italy debut against Romania in July 2022 while his older brother Paolo came off the bench, before the pair finally got their first start together against Romania in their World Cup warmup in August.
“Being two years older, I’ve always done things a little before Alessandro, so we had never played on the same team before that game,” Paolo explained to Rugby World.
Meanwhile, Lorenzo and Niccolo Cannone started four of Italy’s 2023 Six Nations games together.
No strangers to making history, the pair from Florence both played the full game when Italy recorded their first ever win over Australia in their home city last year.
Suddenly Fratelli d’Italia, Brothers of Italy, in Italy’s national anthem Il Canto degli Italiani, (The Song of the Italians) takes on a whole new meaning.