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England duo Joe Marler and George Kruis cleared to tour Australia

Published 06/04/2016

Joe Marler has been cleared to tour Australia
Joe Marler has been cleared to tour Australia

England forwards Joe Marler and George Kruis have been cleared to tour Australia this summer following a marathon day of disciplinary hearings lasting a combined total of almost 12 hours.

Harlequins prop Joe Marler has been banned for two games as sanction for his "gypsy boy" slur against Wales forward Samson Lee during last month's RBS 6 Nations Championship victory at Twickenham.

Marler was also fined £20,000 - to be paid to a suitable equality charity - after the misconduct charge brought against him by World Rugby was upheld by a hearing in London.

Kruis was cleared of biting after a citing described by Saracens forwards coach Alex Sanderson as an "absolute travesty" was dismissed.

Kruis faced a Rugby Football Union disciplinary panel following an incident involving Bath prop David Wilson in last weekend's 30-10 Aviva Premiership victory at the Recreation Ground.

Both Kruis and Wilson - who was also cited for making contact with the eye or eye area of the Saracens forward - were cleared and are free to play with immediate effect.

Kruis faced a minimum 12-week ban if the citing was upheld, ruling him out of the June trip to Australia, but the 26-year-old is free to play with immediate effect and will start Saracens' Champions Cup quarter-final against Northampton on Saturday.

Sanderson, however, is dismayed that one of the star performers of England's recent Grand Slam success was ever summoned before the sport's judiciary.

"It was an absolute travesty that he was cited for something that obviously didn't happen," Sanderson said.

"I don't know the ins and outs of it, but David Wilson seemed pretty embarrassed about it afterwards....that he'd brought it to the attention of the referee.

"It might not have been, in his own words, a bite. He just felt something. George said he wasn't eye-gouged (by Wilson) and it didn't get him in his eyes."

Marler avoided any sanction from Six Nations chiefs and the RFU following the March 12 incident, but World Rugby launched independent action after an outcry over the original verdict.

World Rugby said the misconduct charge was "admitted in its entirety'' by Marler and the RFU has stated it will not appeal the decision.

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