Conor O’Shea defends Harlequins prop Joe Marler over kick against Grenoble

  • Harlequins boss Conor O’Shea has defended Joe Marler after the England prop appeared to kick Grenoble’s Arnaud Heguy
  • The 25-year-old was playing for the first time since serving a two-match ban for calling Wales forward Samson Lee a “Gypsy boy”
  • Referee John Lacey did not see the incident during Quins’ 30-6 victory
Harlequins boss Conor O’Shea has defended Joe Marler after the England prop appeared to intentionally kick Grenoble’s Arnaud Heguy in the head during Friday’s European Challenge Cup semi-final.

The England prop was playing his first game following a two-week ban for his “Gypsy boy” slur against Wales’ Samson Lee, but courted fresh controversy, clashing with Heguy in the 26th minute.

But Quins boss O’Shea claimed Marler made contact with Heguy’s head with his shin, and insisted the 25-year-old’s actions should not warrant a ban.

“It was not a boot, it was nowhere near a boot – it was a shin,” said O’Shea.

Citing commissioner Iain Goodall now has 48 hours to determine whether Marler should face a disciplinary hearing for the incident, with any punishment potentially affecting his availability for England’s summer tour of Australia.

But Quins director of rugby O’Shea was adamant that no further action should be taken.

“Any test for a citing has to pass the red-card test,” said O’Shea. “Should he do it? No. Is it a red card? No.

“It’s disappointing to have to talk about it because I thought his scrummaging was excellent. But he is under the microscope.

“Things happen. We never condone it but if that is a red card there’s a heck of a lot of things that happen on the pitch that are worse.

“So I’d focus on the positives. I’ll have a word with him, but there are things happen on the ground. He got up, he did something, but it wasn’t a red card.”

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