Friday 24 March 2017

England prop Joe Marler to learn today if he will be punished for 'gypsy boy' slur

England's prop Joe Marler (C) clashes with Wales' prop Samson Lee (3rd R) during the Six Nations international rugby union match between England and Wales at Twickenham yesterday
England's prop Joe Marler (C) clashes with Wales' prop Samson Lee (3rd R) during the Six Nations international rugby union match between England and Wales at Twickenham yesterday

Joe Marler is expected to discover on Tuesday whether he will face further action from World Rugby for c­alling ­Samson Lee ‘gypsy boy’ during ­England’s win over Wales.

The prop admitted to using the insult during the game at Twickenham on March 12 but, after a four-day investigation, the Six ­Nations decided it would take no disciplinary measures against him.

That decision was met with widespread condemnation and World Rugby demanded details of the ­investigation as it considered action of its own against the Harlequins forward.

That process is set to be finalised on Tuesday, with World Rugby expected to announce whether Marler – who played the second half as England won the Grand Slam in Paris on ­Saturday night – will face further disciplinary action.

Meanwhile, Martin Johnson ­believes England locks Maro Itoje and George Kruis can both start for the British and Irish Lions in New Zealand next year.

England’s World Cup-winning captain led the Lions to a series win in South Africa in 1997, and has ­acclaimed Itoje and Kruis’ fast-developing partnership in the ­second row. “Paul O’Connell has gone but Alun Wyn Jones is still there, while Ireland are excited about Iain Henderson and ­Scotland’s Richie Gray is working on his ­fundamentals,” Johnson told lionsrugby.com, referring to the candidates for the Lions second-row slots. “Eddie Jones has handled Maro’s rise very well, first using him from the bench and then getting him into the starting line-up.

“The guy is only 21 and is already being heralded as a saviour of the game. Let’s let the kid play. I could see from watching him at club level that he was a fine athlete – at a level which we might not have seen in the second row before.

“But I was worried he was more of an athlete than a rugby player. Does he have that natural instinct for rugby? Quite clearly we can say now that he does.

“Hopefully, he can be managed properly by club and country and England can have him not just for 2019 World Cup, but through 2023 to 2027. Having said all that about Maro, George Kruis has just quietly gone about his business and got better and better with every game.

“They make a fantastic pairing – their line-out under the guidance of Steve Borthwick was very ­impressive and they are going to take some shifting between now and the Lions tour.”

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