Six Nations

Marler escapes punching ban

2016-03-16 21:20
Joe Marler (Getty Images)

London - England prop Joe Marler has escaped a ban despite admitting striking Wales front row Rob Evans at Twickenham, the Six Nations announced Wednesday.

But whether the Harlequins forward will be free to face France when England bid for a Grand Slam in Paris on Saturday remains uncertain as no decision has yet been announced on whether he'll face disciplinary action for another incident in last weekend's 25-21 win where he called Wales prop Samson Lee a "gypsy boy".

Marler appeared before a disciplinary hearing in London on Wednesday where he accepted he had committed an act of foul play.

The panel found it was right that he had been cited, but said no further action was needed as he had not committed a red-card offence.

"Mr Marler accepted that he had committed foul play. Accordingly, the disciplinary committee...having considered all of the evidence, including various video clips, and listened to representations by, and on behalf of, Mr Marler, upheld the citing complaint," said a Six Nations statement.

"However, the disciplinary committee found that the offending would not have warranted a red card and so imposed no sanction."

Officials did not say if Marler would be banned for his comments regarding Lee, adding a decision on that point would be announced on Thursday, when England coach Eddie Jones is due to announced his matchday 23 to play France.

Verbal abuse of a player based on religion, race, colour, national or ethnic origin, sexual orientation or otherwise carried an "entry-point" sanction of a four-week ban.

If Marler is ruled out, his place is set to be taken by Mako Vunipola, with Matt Mullan coming on to the bench.

Earlier on Wednesday, Wales coach Warren Gatland apologised for labelling the incident involving Marler and Lee as "banter".

However, in a Welsh Rugby Union statement, Gatland said: "I don't condone racism of any kind. I apologise for any offence my use of the word banter may have caused."

He received support from Lee, who said: "I stand beside Warren. I personally believe the comments to have been intended as banter and accepted Joe's apology on Saturday."

England are continuing to operate on the basis that Marler will be free to face France.

"There's a judicial process in place so we'll let that run its course," Jones said Tuesday. "At the moment Joe is available and he will be available until the judiciary says he's not."

England's win over Wales meant they had now won all four of their matches under Australian coach Jones and gave them the Six Nations title with a round to spare.

Read more on:    england  |  six nations  |  joe marler  |  rugby

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