Sunday 17 December 2017

Joe Marler cited for striking Rob Evans but no action yet taken over 'gypsy boy' remark

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

England prop Joe Marler has been cited for striking Wales front row Rob Evans in Saturday's RBS 6 Nations victory at Twickenham.

The incident of verbal abuse, in which Marler called Samson Lee "gypsy boy", is still under investigation with the citing officer having 48 hours after the final whistle to lodge a complaint.

The Rugby Football Union released a statement on Sunday afternoon revealing that Marler apologised to Lee at half-time and was "reminded by (head coach) Eddie Jones of his responsibilities as an England player after the game".

In an eventful first half for Marler, the Harlequins loosehead appeared to land a forearm in the face of Evans while trying to help team-mate Dan Cole ground the ball over the Welsh try-line.

The offence carries an entry-point sanction of two weeks and he will appear before a Six Nations disciplinary hearing this week with the outcome almost certain to rule him out of the Saturday's Grand Slam match against France.

Adding to Marler's woes, in the same half he was heard calling Lee "gypsy boy" on the microphone of referee Craig Joubert. Angered by the insult, Lee squared up to Marler.

Verbal abuse of a player based on religion, race, colour, national or ethnic origin, sexual orientation or otherwise carries a minimum sanction of a four-week suspension.

A Six Nations statement read: "Joe Marler has been cited by the independent citing commissioner for allegedly striking an opponent in the 15th minute of the first half of the RBS 6 Nations match between England and Wales at Twickenham.

"Law 10.4 (a) applies - Punching or Striking. A player must not strike an opponent with the fist or arm, including the elbow, shoulder, head or knee(s).

"The citing commissioner continued his review of the match overnight and considered that the incident in the 15th minute involving Mr Marler should also be the subject of a citing (the relevant disciplinary rules provide that the deadline for citing complaints is ordinarily 48 hours after the end of the match in question).

"A disciplinary hearing for the player will be held later this week, before an independent Six Nations disciplinary committee of three."

Asked at a scheduled Wales press conference on Monday about the Marler incident with Lee, Wales assistant coach Rob Howley said: "I think as players and coaches, there is banter in the game, and I think there is no place for that (Saturday's incident).

"I think Samson is the best person you can ask about that. I think he had a fairly different take on it. As far as we are concerned, there is no room in the game for that.

"We all love the game of rugby, and the one thing about rugby after the game, players get on with players. We will just wait for that process to finish.

"This is the first time in my experience of being involved with international rugby that it has happened. It's a minority one, really.

"I am sure World Rugby will decide, effectively, what to do, and we will support them in whatever that decision is."

Press Association

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