STATEMENT: Joe Marler denies comments towards Bristol star was 'verbal abuse' - Ruck

STATEMENT: Joe Marler denies comments towards Bristol star was ‘verbal abuse’

Harlequins prop Joe Marler has denied that his comments that saw him banned was verbal abuse.

The evidence showed Marler twice called Bristol Bears flanker Jake Heenan’s mum a “whore”, with the victim admitting he “lost his head”

Marler has been banned for six weeks – four of them suspended – after accepting a charge regarding comments made to Bristol flanker Jake Heenan.

He will serve a two-week ban but the rest could be imposed for any similar offence before the end of next season.

Marler missed yesterday’s Harlequins’ trip to Northampton and will be unavailable for the home match against Sale on 8 January.

The audio of the incident:

Marler apology:

Marler wrote on Twitter: “Yep. You’re right. I’m sorry @HeenanJake – piss poor from me. Owe you a pint/coffee in the new year.”

The England prop will find out today if he is to face a disciplinary committee over the incident.

Joe Marler statement:

Marler told the hearing Heenan had since accepted his apology for over-stepping the mark. He admitted a “mum joke” was one of his go-to lines when “sledging or ribbing” opponents.

The prop added he did not consider his comments “verbal abuse”.

He said that this occasion (with Heenan) was a poor, unimaginative attempt to ‘sledge’ another player, part of what Marler said was commonplace winding each other up that goes on.

Marler accepted entirely that his actions were contrary to good sportsmanship but said that he did not think it was abuse, because it was not based on race, sexual orientation, ethnicity or the like.

Telegraph Top 30 male players in the UK:

30 Robert Baloucoune (Ulster/Ireland)

29 Jac Morgan (Ospreys/Wales)

28 Kyle Sinckler (Bristol/England)

27 Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors/Scotland)

26 Henry Slade (Exeter/England)

25 Tommy Reffell (Leicester/Wales)

24 Theo McFarland (Saracens/Samoa)

23 Jasper Wiese (Leicester/South Africa)

22 Henry Arundell (London Irish/England)

21 Hamish Watson (Edinburgh/Scotland)

Final whistle celebrations for Scott Steele of Scotland and Hamish Watson of Scotland during the Six Nations Championship, 127th Calcutta Cup match between England and Scotland at Twickenham Stadium, Twickenham, London on January 6 2021. – PHOTO: Phil Mingo/PPAUK