Platitudes, interviews and sport’s biggest stars: the strange tale of Diego Jokas

Joe Marler’s horse impression made quite a splash – and no wonder given we’re so used to tired cliches that it’s hard to spot when quotes are fake

Three years on, I still find myself thinking about the strange story of Diego Jokas. It came back to me just the week before last, when that video clip of Joe Marler talking about Harlequins’ defeat to Clermont Auvergne went viral. You must know the one. Marler starts off talking about how his team have to “get back on the horse”, and ends up following his train of thought so deep into the woods of his imagination that he ends up whinnying an apology to Harlequins fans and promising they’ll play better against Bath next week. The minute-long clip has been seen by hundreds of thousands of people.

Three different friends shared it with me. The only other time I’ve ever heard two of them talk about rugby was when they were telling me how little they like it. For people like me, who follow the game, the most surprising thing about all this was that everyone else seemed so startled by it. Marler’s an irrepressible eccentric, and he talks that way most weeks. During the World Cup, England would often put him up to brighten up rainy day press conferences when his less creative teammates were explaining they were going to take each game as it came.

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