London - Joe Marler will be available to
face France when England go in search of a Grand Slam in Paris on Saturday
after Six Nations officials decided to take no action against him for calling
Wales prop Samson Lee a "gypsy boy".
Marler was also cleared in a separate
incident after being cited for striking Rob Evans during England's 25-21
victory at Twickenham last Saturday.
The Harlequins front row appeared before a
disciplinary hearing in London on Wednesday where he accepted he had committed
an act of foul play against Evans.
The panel said no further action was needed
as Marler had not committed a red-card offence.
However, he still faced the possibility of
being banned for his comment to Lee.
But several hours after Marler was cleared
over the Evans incident, the Six Nations said he would not face punishment in
this instance as well.
"Six Nations Rugby are aware of the
seriousness of Mr Marler's comment and do not in any way condone what was
said," a statement read.
"Six Nations Rugby have considered the
reports in detail and noted the fact that Mr Marler deeply regretted what he
had said and had immediately and unprompted apologised to Mr Lee at half-time.
"They also noted that head coach of
England, Eddie Jones, had reprimanded Mr 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."
Marler's comments were picked up on the
microphone of referee Craig Joubert. Had action been taken against him over his
words, the 25-year-old faced an "entry-point" ban of four weeks.
"I have accepted from the outset that
I made the misguided remark to Samson," said Marler in a Six Nations
"It was made in the heat of the
moment. I apologised, unprompted, to Samson Lee at half-time and this was
"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."
Before disciplinary proceedings involving
Marler were concluded, England forwards coach Steve Borthwick voiced his
confidence in the loosehead prop's readiness to play against France.
"Joe has trained," said Borthwick
on Wednesday. "He trained unbelievably hard on Tuesday."
Borthwick also said England captain Dylan
Hartley was fit to face France after the hooker missed a training session on
"Dylan's fine. He trained in the
morning but was rested for the afternoon session," Borthwick said.
"But he's fine. He's not carrying an
injury, he's good. It was a case of monitoring loads and he was rested for the
afternoon session," the former England captain added.
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.
Jones is due to name his team to play
France at 12:00 on Thursday. Victory in Paris will see England to a first Grand
Slam since their World Cup-winning year of 2003.