No “gypsy boy” ban for Marler

Date published: March 16 2016

Joe Marler is free to face France after being cleared following both his "gypsy boy" comment and for striking Rob Evans.

Further to a comment made by Marler to Samson Lee during the England v Wales match at Twickenham on Saturday, Six Nations Rugby have conducted a thorough investigation which has just concluded.  

"Six Nations Rugby are aware of the seriousness of Marler's comment and do not in anyway condone what was said," read a statement.

"Six Nations Rugby have considered the reports in detail and noted the fact that Marler deeply regretted what he had said and had immediately and unprompted apologised to Lee at half time.

"They also noted that head coach of England, Eddie Jones, had reprimanded Marler and reminded him of his responsibilities as an international rugby player.

"Six Nations Rugby have accepted the explanation provided that the comment was one made in the heat of the moment.

"Having taken all the facts into account no further disciplinary action will be taken.  Six Nations Rugby consider that this matter is now closed.

Joe Marler has made the following statement.

"I have accepted from the outset that I made the misguided remark to Samson. It was made in the heat of the moment. I apologised, unprompted, to Samson Lee at half time and this was accepted," Marler said.

"As ever we shook hands and exchanged smiles at the end of the game. I have been warned very clearly by Eddie Jones how comments like this are unacceptable.

"I will certainly conduct myself differently in future. I do not condone racism in any form, at any time, deeply regret the incident and intend to reflect the behaviours expected of an England player going forward.

"Once again I apologise for the upset my inappropriate remark has caused".

England prop Marler has also been cleared by the citing commissioner for the allegation that he contravened Law 10.4(a) in their 25-21 Six Nations victory over Wales at Twickenham.

Marler appeared before an independent Six Nations disciplinary committee in London on Wednesday, having been cited by an independent citing commissioner for allegedly striking an opponent in the match between England and Wales.

Law 10.4(a) Punching or striking states that "A player must not strike an opponent with the fist or arm, including the elbow, shoulder, head or knee(s)."
The 25-year-old accepted that he had committed foul play. Accordingly, the disciplinary committee, chaired by Harry McKibbin (Ireland) along with Roddy Dunlop (Scotland) and David Martin (Ireland), having considered all of the evidence, including various video clips, and listened to representations by and on behalf of Marler, upheld the citing complaint. 

However, the disciplinary committee found that the offence would not have warranted a red card and so imposed no sanction.
The Harlequins player is free to resume playing immediately.