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‘Madcap’ Joe Marler best when he’s horrible! – Adam Jones

 Joe MarlerJoe Marler will be back at his snarling, aggressive best for the Six Nations according to Adam Jones, who believes his Harlequins prop partner deserves another chance after a disappointing World Cup.

Wales and Lions star Jones has worked closely with Marler since he returned to club duty in October and reckons the 25-year-old is ready to prove his army of critics have been wrong to write him off.

Jones, below, told The Rugby Paper: “I’ve been lucky to spend a lot of time with Joe Marler and we do a lot of work together. He’s been my flatmate every Monday night so we put the world to rights and he’s ready to kick on again now.

“He’d built up a fearsome reputation early on but then probably went away from what he’s best at, which is being an aggressive, in-your-face scrummager. But I liked the fact he was a horrible bugger and that’s where he needs to be.

“He’s an interesting guy who’s a bit whacky and madcap, but when he’s aggressive and being horrible he plays at his best and, hopefully, he’ll have another crack. Mako Vunipola’s looking good but I’m sure Joe will get a chance.”

Jones also believes Quins’ back-rower Jack Clifford can have the same impact for England that Toby Faletau had for Wales. And he has praised flanker Chris Robshaw for the way he has fought for his England place.

“Clifford’s got pretty much all the attributes you need for a big No.8 – a bit like Toby Faletau with his running and offloading ability,” Jones said.

“They’ve got the same sort of size and weight and both love running with the ball and are incredibly quick and powerful guys.

“Toby had 50 caps by the time he was 25 and is a special player, but Cliff’s getting there and will be very good as well.

“As for Robbo, he’s been outstanding since he came back from the World Cup and is a workhorse in the mould of a Richard Hill.

“I didn’t know the guy much before I met him but he’s a good player and a fantastic competitor who, captain or not, deserves a place in that England back- row.

“There’s been a lot of pressure on the bloke and he’s been criticised for certain things at the World Cup, but he’s played very, very well for us and is one of those players who does a lot of the unseen work.

“There’s no bigger compliment than to say he’s like how Richard Hill played in his prime and he’s a really big asset for England.”

Jones was a shock signing for Quins from Cardiff last summer but has played a big part in the club’s surge into the Premiership top four.

After inflicting a first defeat of the season on Saracens, the shaggy-haired Welshman reckons the good times are ready to roll.

He said: “Saracens are a pretty awesome side, so to match them up front and get the win gave us a great feeling at the end.

“There was talk of them going unbeaten so anyone who beats them must have something about them and it’s opened up the league.”

Former Ospreys and Cardiff tighthead Jones admits the intensity of the Premiership has taken him by surprise, saying: “It’s a ridiculously competitive league compared to the Pro12 and there are no easy games whatsoever.

“Set-piece-wise, there’s a big onus placed there and just the intensity of the games is different. It’s a full-on contest every week and part of that is brought on by the crowds we play in front of and the threat of relegation.

“Wherever you play it’s virtually a full-house and that raises the intensity, whereas you’d regularly go to places in the Pro12 and play in front of a couple of thousand people and the atmosphere’s just not the same.”

Jones, 34, wants to end his career at Quins, adding: “It’s gone better here than I expected. I’ve played a fair bit, have been getting involved in the coaching and have really enjoyed it.

“The Premiership’s good and if you look at the stars coming in, it’s not far off France now. The salary cap rise and marquee player situation helps, so it’ll be a pretty good place to finish my career over the next couple of years.”

Jones’ long Test career ended under a cloud when he was dumped by boss Warren Gatland in June 2014.

However, he still believes the Kiwi should lead the Lions to New Zealand in 2017, explaining: “There are three Kiwis in the running – Gats, Joe Schmidt and Vern Cotter – but Warren’s got the track record.

“It’s a bit romantic having the chance to go back to New Zealand and beat the All Blacks, and Gats will know the different territories and teams and how they’ll test the Lions.

“He’s done two successful tours, knows the ropes, and that inside knowledge will be vital for the toughest tour of all. If he gets the job, he deserves it.”

NEALE HARVEY

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