England prop Joe Marler has been banned for 10 weeks for grabbing the genitals of Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones, the Rugby Football Union has announced.
Centre Manu Tuilagi has also been suspended for four weeks for a high tackle in the same game, the Guinness Six Nations clash at Twickenham on March 7. Both have the right to appeal.
Lock Courtney Lawes, who was cited for a dangerous tackle, was cleared following an independent disciplinary committee hearing in Dublin.
The incidents occurred during a stormy contest, which England won 33-30.
Marler accepted he committed an act of foul play but contested the citing that he “grabbed, twisted or squeezed the genitals” of an opponent.
This was dismissed by the committee, who deemed the offence worthy of a red card and found him guilty of infringing Law 9.27 (acts against the spirit of good sportsmanship).
He was banned for 12 weeks but this was adjusted to 10 in light of other factors.
A statement read: “The disciplinary committee found that the act of foul play warranted a low-end entry point (12 weeks’ suspension) and reduced that by three weeks to take account of mitigating factors (including good character and remorse) but increased it by one week to take account of his most recent disciplinary record.
Disciplinary update | Courtney Lawes, Joe Marler and Manu Tuilagi have learned the outcome of their disciplinary hearings.— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) March 12, 2020
“Marler is therefore suspended for 10 weeks and, given his playing schedule, is free to resume playing on Monday, 8 June 2020. He was reminded of his right of appeal.”
Tuilagi was sent off in the 75th minute of the game for a no-arms tackle on George North.
The Leicester man argued the offence did not warrant a red card but the committee disagreed, finding him guilty of a dangerous charge and banning him for six weeks.
That was reduced to four on account of other factors, including good conduct and immediate remorse. He can play again from April 14.
Lawes was cited after a challenge on Jones. He accepted he had committed foul play but successfully argued it was not a red-card offence.