Marler misconduct hearing set for April 5

England's Joe Marler (with headband) clashes with Wales' Samson Lee during the Six Nations match at Twickenham.
England's Joe Marler (with headband) clashes with Wales' Samson Lee during the Six Nations match at Twickenham.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

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

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 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 April 5 in London. The case will be heard by an independent judicial committee."

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.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 30, 2016, with the headline 'Marler misconduct hearing set for April 5'. Print Edition | Subscribe