Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Home Sport Rugby

Harlequins boss Conor O'Shea: Joe Marler did not kick Arnaud Heguy in the head

Published 22/04/2016

Joe Marler could be in hot water once again
Joe Marler could be in hot water once again

Conor O'Shea has insisted Joe Marler did not kick Grenoble hooker Arnaud Heguy in the head and does not deserve another ban.

Marler could be back in hot water with rugby's authorities after appearing to kick out at Heguy during Harlequins' 30-6 victory over Grenoble in Friday's European Challenge Cup semi-final.

The England prop was playing his first game following a two-week ban for his "Gypsy boy" slur against Wales' Samson Lee, but courted fresh controversy, clashing with Heguy in the 26th minute.

But Quins boss O'Shea claimed Marler made contact with Heguy's head with his shin, and insisted the 25-year-old's actions should not warrant a ban.

"It was not a boot, it was nowhere near a boot - it was a shin," said O'Shea, with Marler in danger of a ban that could jeopardise his place on England's June tour to Australia.

"Any test for a citing has to pass the red-card test.

"Should he do it? No. Is it a red card? No.

"It's disappointing to have to talk about it because I thought his scrummaging was excellent.

"But he is under the microscope.

"Things happen, we never condone it but if that is a red card there's a heck of a lot of things that happen on the pitch that are worse.

"So I'd focus on the positives, I'll have a word with him, but there are things happen on the ground.

"He got up, he did something, but it wasn't a red card."

Citing commissioner Iain Goodall now has 48 hours to determine whether Marler should face a disciplinary hearing for the incident.

Jamie Roberts, Nick Evans and George Lowe claimed the tries that sent Quins into their first European final since 2011, where they will face the winners of Saturday's Montpellier's clash with Newport Gwent Dragons.

O'Shea's side could yet be without Marler for the final in Lyon on May 13 if he does face another suspension, but Quins' rugby director offered a staunch defence of his player after Friday's victory at The Stoop.

Marler initially escaped censure for his taunts against prop Lee in England's 25-21 Six Nations victory over Wales at Twickenham on March 12.

Global governing body World Rugby later intervened and called a misconduct hearing, however, dissatisfied with the leniency of Six Nations and RFU bosses.

Marler admitted the charge and was banned for two matches and fined £20,000.

The loosehead prop had only just returned from that suspension for Quins' last-four European tussle at The Stoop on Friday night, and has appeared to waste little time in courting further controversy.

"Joe will be fine, he'll be disappointed that attention was drawn to him again," said O'Shea.

"But when you're a marked man you're a marked man. People probably look more for things when Joe Marler's involved than with others, but that's life.

"He needs to control his emotion, it is an aggressive game and you need to control your discipline."

How to Complain

If you have a complaint about the editorial content of the Belfast Telegraph or Sunday Life then contact the Editor here. If you are not satisfied with the response provided then you can contact the Independent Press Standards Organisation here

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph