Public apology from Marler

Date published: April 5 2016

England prop Joe Marler has apologised and insisted he is not a racist ahead of his World Rugby hearing on Tuesday.

The Harlequins stalwart was initially reprimanded for calling Wales prop Samson Lee a "gypsy boy" during England's 25-21 Six Nations victory over Wales at Twickenham last month, but faces a retrospective ban from World Rugby.

Marler took to Twitter to apologise and said he would accept World Rugby's ruling.

"I'm not a racist," he tweeted. 

"What I said to Samson was out of order and wrong and I am sorry it was said, we shook hands at the end of the game and looked to move on. Whatever happens to me tomorrow I will accept.

"I'm sorry to anyone who was offended, saying it was in the 'heat of the moment' isn't an excuse, but one comment, one mistake, does not make me a racist. 

"My wife, kids, family and friends (yes, I do have some friends) know this.

"Thanks to the people who have supported me and have understood that I made a mistake and sorry again to the people I offended."

Marler escaped sanction after Six Nations officials deemed his remorse – he apologised to Lee at half-time of that match – and subsequent admonishing by England as sufficient punishment.

But World Rugby's decision to continue with their investigation indicated a degree of dissatisfaction with the Six Nations disciplinary process.

"World Rugby can confirm that the Joe Marler misconduct hearing is scheduled to take place on April 5 in London," read a World Rugby statement issued on March 28.

"The case will be heard by an independent judicial committee, assembled by the independent judicial chairman in accordance with World Rugby regulation 18.

"The committee will comprise Terry Willis (chair, Australia), Jean-Noel Couraud (France) and Alan Hudson (Canada)."