THE BLOG

Grand Slam Decider

15/03/2013 12:04 GMT | Updated 15/05/2013 10:12 BST

Everyone is aware that the Italy game wasn't the performance we were aiming for, and I'm sure people could see that by the looks on our faces at the end of the game. It was a tough day at the office but we must give credit to Italy as they played out of their skins.

The Italian side are now really making a mark on world rugby - gone are the days when teams were putting 40 or 50 points past them. We treated them with the respect they deserved and they didn't let us get our game going, but we're just happy to take the win and move onto the next game.

After the match, I went back to Heathfield after the game to get a night at home, then we returned to Pennyhill Park on Monday evening for massages and any medical treatment that is required. Training is pretty full on so it was nice to spend some time away during the breaks we get.

When I was back, we went through the previous performance by going through the positives and negatives identified by the coaching staff. Then it will be a mixture of training and gym work. I'm probably one who prefers the skills and technical side of training rather than being a 'gym bunny' - but it's all part of the job so you need to make sure your body is in the right shape for each weekend.

There's certainly a competitive atmosphere in all aspects of training. The back rowers seriously push themselves in the gym - it's actually quite scary. You see the likes of Tom Wood and Chris Robshaw who are setting the example for the rest of us to follow.

Fortunately, there are no egos in the squad, everyone can speak their mind and everyone genuinely gets on with one another. Nowadays with things like Player Cam on O2 Inside Line, fans can see exactly what the team get up to away from training. Winning on the pitch breeds a positive atmosphere off the pitch, which we're obviously all keen to maintain.

There's a real competition for places across the whole squad as no one is guaranteed their shirt each week. In the front row, Mako has come on enormously since he joined the squad in the Autumn. His ball carrying is superb and he's really taken his chances. And what can I say about Dan Cole? He's world class! One of the best tightheads in the northern hemisphere and just keeps getting better.

Looking ahead to the Wales game they've got a big back three and good ball carriers across the team, but we know that if we perform the way we can then we'll give ourselves a really good chance. It's very much a case of focusing on ourselves rather than worrying about what the opposition may or may not do. If we get our own game right then we'll be okay.

Get the latest behind-the-scenes news from Joe Marler and his England teammates with O2 Inside Line, the weekly show from O2 - proud sponsor of England Rugby - and the RFU, at www.O2InsideLine.com