Joe Marler called out after snubbing Rugby World Cup chief during medal ceremony

England star Joe Marler has been criticised after appearing to walk straight past Rugby World Cup chief Bill Beaumont during the bronze match medal ceremony. Steve Borthwick’s side defeated Argentina to claim third place at the tournament, ahead of Saturday’s final between New Zealand and South Africa. 

Marler and co. came ever so close to overcoming South Africa in the semi-final. A late 16-15 reverse was gutting but set up the opportunity for England to provide evidence of significant progress by winning bronze.

Argentina were swept aside in a tight 26-23 affair, but prop Marler was criticised after the game for appearing to walk straight past World Rugby chairman Beaumont during the medal ceremony. The 33-year-old collected his prize before seemingly walking straight off the podium, while those after him all walked towards Beaumont to shake the 71-year-old’s hand.

Former England fly-half Andy Goode wrote on X: “Joe Marler showing a lack of respect for Bill Beaumont and walking straight past without shaking his hand, sums him up really.”

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It is unclear if Marler knew to shake Beaumont’s hand after collecting his medal. The Harlequins ace may also have returned to embrace the former Rugby Football Union boss out of shot.

Head coach Borthwick and lock Maro Itoje also faced backlash for failing to wear their bronze medals. However, many sports people have turned down donning any prize that does not constitute first-place.

Marler was in the thick of the celebrations after the match. The eccentric ace conducted one of his infamously chaotic interviews on the pitch. In an X-rated monologue, he admitted England were “c***” five months ago.

“Bonne Soiree (good evening),” he said. “I just want to say on behalf of the team, to all the fans that have supported us out here and back at home, it has been phenomenal. It’s been a brilliant, brilliant journey.

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“To come five months ago where we were c***, to start building a new England, there’s plenty of things to be hopeful for in the future so get behind the team moving forward, love you guys, bye!”

Borthwick also pointed out England’s progress after picking up bronze. “I’m delighted for the players to get the win after they have worked so hard,” the 44-year-old said.

“We won six games out of seven and lost one game by one point to the current world champions and current world number one, which shows the progress of the team. It shows how the team has built during the tournament.”

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