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England and Harlequins prop Joe Marler has been cited for striking Wales prop Rob Evans in England’s 25-21 Six Nations victory over Wales at Twickenham.
Harlequins prop Marler appeared to land a forearm in the face of Evans while trying to assist Dan Cole ground the ball over Wales’s try-line.
“Joe Marler has been cited by the independent citing commissioner for allegedly striking an opponent in the 15th minute of the first half of the RBS 6 Nations match between England and Wales at Twickenham,” said a Six Nations statement .
If found guilty at a disciplinary hearing later this week, Marler will face an “entry-point” ban of two weeks, which would rule him out of England’s attempt to seal a first Grand Slam since 2003.
Officials have yet to decide whether a separate incident of verbal abuse, in which Harlequins prop Marler called Wales’s Samson Lee “gypsy boy” during the first-half of England’s 25-21 win at Twickenham last Saturday, warrants disciplinary action.
England’s governing Rugby Football Union said Sunday that Marler apologised to Lee at half-time and was “reminded by (head coach) Eddie Jones of his responsibilities as an England player after the game”.
England head coach Eddie Jones has confirmed that Marler “made a mistake” with his comments to Lee but will still consider him for selection if he is available.
“It’s not within the spirit of the game,” said the Australian. “Joe understands that and that’s why he apologised straight away.
“We all make mistakes and he made a mistake.
Verbal abuse of a player based on religion, race, colour, national or ethnic origin, sexual orientation or otherwise carries a minimum sanction of a four-week suspension.
Former England captain Will Carling said Marler had been guilty of a “silly mistake”.
“I’ve heard far worse on pitches, been called far worse myself, which I was genuinely upset about,” Carling told the BBC on Monday.
“With microphones around anything that’s racist is going to get picked up on. Anything that comes into the racist category is not clever and it shouldn’t be in people’s heads,” the former centre added.
Asked if Marler would be banned, Carling replied: “If they categorise this as definite racism then yes he has to get banned, doesn’t he? It’s a silly mistake by him.”
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