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England face anxious wait

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England face anxious wait on Manu Tuilagi and Joe Marler disciplinary decisions

By PA Authors
By Online Editors

England will discover by Monday evening the extent of the disciplinary fallout from their 33-30 Guinness Six Nations victory over Wales at Twickenham.

Manu Tuilagi must appear before a disciplinary hearing – most likely on Tuesday – to answer for the 75th-minute red card awarded for his dangerous tackle on George North.

And there could also be significant repercussions for Eddie Jones and Joe Marler, with the latter having grabbed Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones by the testicles in an incident clearly shown on replays.

Jones, England’s head coach, turned on referee Ben O’Keeffe shortly after watching his team throw away a commanding 33-16 lead by conceding late tries to Dan Biggar and Justin Tipuric in an anxious finish at Twickenham.

Prior to sending off Tuilagi for an offence that will incur a ban in the region of six weeks, O’Keeffe had dispatched Ellis Genge to the sin-bin for straying offside to leave England to play the last six minutes with only 13 men.

Jones has made a virtue of not criticising refereeing decisions but his self-imposed silence ended spectacularly when he accused O’Keeffe of assisting Wales.

“At the end we were 13 against 16 and that’s hard. When you have got a three-man advantage, you are going to do some damage. That’s what happened. We had a numerical disadvantage, so it was tough,” Jones said.

Under current guidelines on high tackles, O’Keeffe was right to dismiss Tuilagi but Jones described the decision as “absolute rubbish” as part of a confused analysis of the tackle.

If Six Nations disciplinary chiefs decide action is needed it will be brought under the charge of bringing the game into disrepute, which could incur a warning, fine or stadium ban.

Another curious event was Marler’s fondling of Alun Wyn Jones, the Wales captain, as tempers flared between the teams early on in a logic-defying match that exposed England’s vulnerabilities once again.

At the time the incident appeared comical, but Jones made it clear afterwards that he wants it reviewed.

World Rugby’s punishment for an offence it describes as “testicle grabbing or twisting or squeezing” ranges from a suspension of 12 to 24 weeks or more, and given Marler’s chequered history he could be facing a lengthy ban.

“There’s a lot of footage that has been shown. It seems like a lot of supporters saw what happened,” the Wales skipper said.

“It’s very frustrating that we talk a lot about TMOs and footage reviews, yet there doesn’t seem to be a lot of it happening.”

Examples of similar cases are rare, but in 2016 London Irish lock George Robson received a six-week suspension for the same offence.

Six Nations organisers have until 48 hours after Saturday’s match ended to issue any citings.

With England’s final match against Italy being postponed due to coronavirus, any bans will impact on the players’ clubs.

WATCH: Eddie Jones and Owen Farrell spoke to the media following their sides win against Wales at Twickenham.

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England face anxious wait on Manu Tuilagi and Joe Marler disciplinary decisions
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