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England's Joe Marler to conduct himself differently after escaping ban

Joe Marler will learn the lessons of his scrape with Six Nations disciplinary officials after avoiding a ban for his verbal abuse of Wales prop forward Samson Lee.

Marler went unpunished for calling Lee "gypsy boy" during England's 25-21 win last weekend when a disciplinary hearing found that it was not a red-card offence, meaning he is free to feature in England's quest for the Grand Slam against France at the weekend.

Marler, who made a swift apology after his comment was picked up on the microphone of referee Craig Joubert, said in a statement released by Six Nations: "I have accepted from the outset that I made the misguided remark to Samson. It was made in the heat of the moment. I apologised, unprompted, to Samson Lee at half-time and this was accepted.

"As ever we shook hands and exchanged smiles at the end of the game. I have been warned very clearly by Eddie Jones how comments like this are unacceptable. I will certainly conduct myself differently in future.

"I do not condone racism in any form, at any time, deeply regret the incident and intend to reflect the behaviours expected of an England player going forward. Once again I apologise for the upset my inappropriate remark has caused."

The Six Nations disciplinary officials chose not to sanction the 25-year-old prop after accepting that the comment was made in the "heat of the moment".

Six Nations said in a statement: "Six Nations Rugby are aware of the seriousness of Mr Marler's comment and do not in any way condone what was said.

"Six Nations Rugby have considered the reports in detail and noted the fact that Mr Marler deeply regretted what he had said and had immediately and unprompted apologised to Mr Lee at half-time. They also noted that head coach of England Eddie Jones had reprimanded Mr Marler and reminded him of his responsibilities as an international rugby player.

"Six Nations Rugby have accepted the explanation provided that the comment was one made in the heat of the moment.

"Having taken all the facts into account no further disciplinary action will be taken. Six Nations Rugby consider that this matter is now closed."

England are due to name their starting XV for the France game, a match that could deliver the team's first Grand Slam for 13 years, at 10am on Thursday.

It was initially believed Six Nations would hold off until Thursday before announcing a ruling on Marler's comment to Lee, but a change of plan saw the verdict released late on Wednesday evening.

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