“I wear my heart on my sleeve and what you see is what you get”.

In an interview as honest and frank as you will ever get, Marlie Packer opens up to Ugo Monye in the final episode of The Open Side about her relationship with her absent father and life as a parent in a same-sex relationship.

Having become a parent to Oliver last year, the Somerset-born England flanker says she still finds it difficult to make peace with the fact that her father wasn’t there for her.

“My dad, for me growing up, was never properly in my life, he was in and out of prison,” she said.

“I can remember coming into my late teens, I actually started spending quite a lot of time with him, and, looking back, it was not good for me. He was more of a bad influence.

“It wasn’t until I was older that I realised, I don’t need you in my life.”

While bereft of fatherly attention, Packer enjoyed the unswerving support of her mother in all aspects of life.

When England won Rugby World Cup 2014 in France, Packer says it was the proudest day of her mother’s life. “She still talks about it now.”

Her father, sadly, was not there to join in the celebrations.

“Going into that 2014 World Cup, he died 12 weeks out from it,” she revealed.

“I miss him, and I do think about him, of course I do. But I am angry because, for me, I would never choose anything else other than to be there for Oliver and see him grow. I don’t understand how someone couldn’t be like that with me.”

Watch the final episode of Season One of The Open Side above and check out the official World Rugby YouTube channel for new episodes.

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