Joe Marler facing World Rugby disciplinary action
By Jefferson Lake
Last Updated: 23/03/16 10:25pm
World Rugby have confirmed England prop Joe Marler will face an independent misconduct hearing for his comments made towards Wales' Samson Lee.
Marler escaped with a reprimand from the Six Nations disciplinary committee after calling the Wales prop a "gypsy boy" during England's 25-21 win at Twickenham earlier this month.
The Harlequins prop apologised during the half-time interval and was also warned by new England coach Eddie Jones, but World Rugby launched a further investigation into the 25-year-old's behaviour and have now confirmed he will face disciplinary proceedings.
In a statement, World Rugby said: "[We] are 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.
"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 RFU (the player's union) and Six Nations Rugby have been informed and the case will be heard by an independent judicial committee as soon as practically possible.
Details will be announced in due course and the player is free to continue playing in the interim.
Marler's club coach at Harlequins, Conor O'Shea, has given his support to the under-fire forward and stresses he is unquestionably not a racist.
"He is not in any way shape or form racist," O'Shea said. "He is an edgy person, he made a mistake, and he apologised.
"Does he know that he has got a responsibility? Of course he does. Do we accept it? Of course we don't, but some of the vitriol that has been directed to him is tough for a 25-year old to take and he has to take it on the chin.
"I am not going to talk about political correctness, I am not going to talk about banter. He knows he shouldn't have said it. He apologised at half-time, he knew it was wrong.
"I had a good sit-down with him (on Tuesday). You couldn't get anything further from a bloke that is racist going."