Joe Marler’s woeful disciplinary record means he is going to be consistently targeted by opponents and must learn to cope with it, says Harlequins director of rugby John Kingston.
The fiery prop received a six-week suspension following a red card for striking TJ Ioane with his shoulder in Quins’ 30-29 loss at Sale Sharks on Saturday, ruling him out of England’s first two Six Nations matches.
Ioane was banned for two weeks after it was deemed his elbow connected with Marler in an incident five minutes prior to the forward’s dismissal.
Kingston expects Marler to continue finding himself at the centre of such altercations, unless he develops a greater capacity to restrain himself.
“Joe has to learn to understand that he is going to be a target and sometimes when people target you, it is not seen immediately,” Kingston told The Telegraph.
“Let’s be clear – a few minutes before [the clear-out] he was elbowed in the face gratuitously by Ioane, who then gets two weeks. How someone can do that, something which is nothing to do with rugby… at least Joe is trying to clear a ruck, albeit illegally by not wrapping his arms around. I struggle to understand that.
“[Marler] is cheesed off and suffering the ultimate sanction which is not to play for his country. I’ve spoken to him and had an internal hearing.
“I’m sorry for him and for England that he is not going to get a chance to play for a couple of the internationals, maybe a bit longer if he needs some matches to get back up to speed.”