England prop Joe Marler has been banned for two matches and fined £20,000 by World Rugby
Marler had avoided punishment by Six Nations organisers, but World Rugby conducted its own investigation
The prop will miss Harlequins’ Challenge Cup quarter-final against London Irish on Saturday and next weekend’s Premiership trip to leaders Saracens
The long-running saga reached its climax today with the England prop Joe Marler receiving a two match ban for the comment he aimed at Welshman Samson Lee.
He made the comment in England’s Six Nations win over Wales in March and had an apology accepted by prop Samson. The prop was also fined £20,000.
The Harlequins forward has seven days to appeal against the decision.
World Rugby was of the view that the comments amount to misconduct and/or a breach of the code of conduct under World Rugby Regulation 20 and should have been considered by an independent process.
Marler, whose fine will be donated to an equality charity in the UK, admitted a misconduct charge at a disciplinary hearing in London on Tuesday.
He will miss Harlequins’ Challenge Cup quarter-final against London Irish on Saturday and next weekend’s Premiership trip to leaders Saracens.
In the absence of such a process by Six Nations Rugby, World Rugby is exercising its right to take appropriate action before an independent judicial committee.
The Welsh Rugby Union issued its own statement at the time, saying it was disappointed with the Six Nations’ decision not to punish Marler.
England head coach Eddie Jones reprimanded Marler after the incident, but Scarlets prop Lee, who is from the Traveller community, dismissed it as “banter”.
Wales head coach Warren Gatland also described the comment as “banter”, but he later apologised for his remark.
Campaigners from the Traveller community – and figures inside the sport – had been critical of Marler for making the comment and called for a ban.
I am sure World Rugby will decide what to do, and we will support them.”
Rob Howley, the Wales skills coach
“People make mistakes. The fact that he apologised at half-time is a real testament to Joe’s character.
“There’s a judicial process in place. At the moment Joe is available and he will be available until the judiciary says he’s not.”
England coach Eddie Jones