Rugby

Marler misconduct hearing date set

2016-03-29 08:55
Joe Marler (Getty Images)

London - England's Joe Marler will face a World Rugby misconduct hearing after he called Wales's Samson Lee a "gypsy boy", the global governing body announced on Monday.

Six Nations officials decided to take no action against Marler for his words to Lee, which they said came "in the heat of the moment" or indeed his striking of Rob Evans during a 25-21 Championship win over Wales at Twickenham on March 12.

England coach Eddie Jones reprimanded Marler and that was sufficient for the Australian's bosses at the Rugby Football Union.

Marler then took part in England's Grand Slam-clinching 31-21 win against France in Paris the following weekend, although he could now receive a retrospective ban.

The lack of disciplinary action prompted World Rugby to intervene, saying that in the absence of such a process by the Six Nations it was exercising its right to take "appropriate action" before an independent judicial committee.

Confirmation of that action came on Monday, with a brief statement saying: "World Rugby can confirm that the Joe Marler misconduct hearing is scheduled to take place on 5 April in London.

"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-Nol Couraud (France) and Alan Hudson (Canada)."

The row over Marler's conduct had previously taken a new twist when the England prop's club Harlequins said he was called a "four-letter word" during the Wales match.

Further footage released over the weekend appeared to show Marler telling Lee, who is from a travelling community background, to "get back to your caravan".

But Harlequins director of rugby Conor O'Shea told Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper on Sunday: "I know Joe and whatever has gone on, Joe is not in any way, shape or form racist."

Marler apologised to Lee during the match, with the Welshman making clear he had accepted the apology.

But O'Shea, who will coach Italy next season, revealed Marler had been on the receiving end as well.

"It would be fair to say that there were a couple of things said to him with words that you can't use but such is life," he said.

"Posh, English and a four-letter word seems to be fine one way but not the other," the former Ireland full-back added. "The process has just dragged. It's unfair on him.

"Do we condone it? No, nobody does, he knew he had done wrong, he apologised but to let it drag the way it has for him is not particularly fair, especially when you know some of the stuff that was said to him. We will support him through it."

Marler was dropped to the bench for the France game, but Jones was adamant this was a tactical change and not a disciplinary measure.

Ian Ritchie, the chief executive of England's RFU, tried to draw a line under the incident by saying last week that the Six Nations' decision to take no action against Marler should be "the end of the matter".

Read more on:    england  |  joe marler  |  rugby
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