Joe Marler saved his strangest moment for the final seconds of the season
Harlequins’ season came to a positive end on Saturday as they beat reigning champions Leicester Tigers at Welford Road, and loosehead prop Joe Marler played almost right until the end.
But on 83 minutes, Marler’s season came to a premature close when referee Ian Tempest yellow carded him for an infringement at the ruck. With his side already leading 20-17 in the final few seconds of their season, the England prop decided he was not going to silently slink off to the bench, rather he was going to have a bit of fun with the crowd.
The 32-year-old was seen laughing and waving at the crowd as he walked off the field, before high-fiving fans. He then actually joined the crowd himself, and began berating his teammates or opponents. There was absolutely no chance that at that stage in the season Marler was going to do anything normal after being yellow carded. Fortunately for him, his teammates held on for the final few seconds to secure the win.
Take a look:
— Harlequins 🃏 (@Harlequins) May 7, 2023
It was Marler’s former Quins and England teammate Chris Ashton, however, who received the most significant card of the match though, as he was red carded just before half time for a high tackle on Cadan Murley. Though Tempest was justified in giving the red, the ramifications are huge as it effectively ended Ashton’s career early, as he had already announced that he will be retiring at the end of the season.
Leicester had already qualified for the Premiership semi-finals, against Sale Sharks next Sunday, but he will surely be ineligible for that match now with that ban that is likely to come his way this week.
Reflecting on the red card after the match, Leicester head coach Richard Wigglesworth said: “Decisions are so close these days: one’s a rugby incident, the next one’s a red card, you feel for him.
“I want to protect players, I really do, and I probably need to look at it a bit closer, but we know Chris isn’t that sort of player.
“He’s had a chequered past through, sometimes, accidents – and this was another accident.
“Hopefully that’s not his last game and he had a wry smile (as if to say) ‘only me’.”