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World Rugby could discipline England's Joe Marler over Samson Lee row

Published 18/03/2016

England's Joe Marler could face fresh disciplinary action from World Rugby
England's Joe Marler could face fresh disciplinary action from World Rugby

England prop Joe Marler could face fresh disciplinary proceedings if World Rugby deem the Six Nations' investigation into his verbal abuse of Wales' Samson Lee unsatisfactory.

The sport's global governing body are still awaiting further information on the how the probe into Marler for calling Lee "gypsy boy" in the 25-21 victory at Twickenham last Saturday was conducted.

Marler apologised to Lee for the insult at half-time and was subsequently reprimanded by England head coach Eddie Jones yet escaped sanction from the Six Nations, who announced the findings of their investigation on Wednesday night.

Verbal abuse of a player based on religion, race, colour, national or ethnic origin, sexual orientation or otherwise carries an entry-point sanction of four weeks and despite Marler's admission of guilt, he has been cleared to play in Saturday's Grand Slam match against France.

The verdict has been met with an outcry and on Thursday the Welsh Rugby Union expressed its disappointment, declaring "we stand by our belief that that there is no place for the use of racist language in sport."

A statement released by the WRU added: "Clearly this incident has raised broader issues for the game of rugby which require follow up and which we are undertaking directly with Six Nations."

World Rugby has sought clarification on the process and outcome of the investigation - of which no details have been published - and if the written judgement is deemed to be flawed then the case will be reopened.

Any new investigation into the first-half incident would be conducted by an independent disciplinary process and not by the Six Nations, potentially enforcing a ban on Marler after the 25-year-old missed one the first time around.

In a statement released on Thursday evening, World Rugby said: "We note the outcome of Six Nations Rugby's investigation into comments made by England's Joe Marler towards Wales' Samson Lee during the RBS 6 Nations match at Twickenham on 12 March, 2016.

"World Rugby Law 10.4(m) and Regulations 17 (Discipline) and 20 (Misconduct / Code of Conduct) deal with verbal abuse of players.

"World Rugby can confirm that, in accordance with its regulations, it has requested further information from Six Nations Rugby (the tournament organiser of the RBS 6 Nations Championship) in respect of the process that led to its decision."

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