England’s Joe Marler have been banned for ten weeks after appearing before an independent disciplinary committee in Dublin.

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The loosehead prop had been the subject of a citing complaint by the independent citing commissioner, Peter Ferguson, following last Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations match against Wales at Twickenham. 

The citing complaint alleged that Marler had infringed law 9.27 (acts against the spirit of good sportsmanship) when he grabbed, twisted or squeezed the genitals of Wales’ Alun Wyn Jones in the first half of the match.

Marler accepted that he had committed an act of foul play, albeit that he did not accept that he had grabbed, twisted or squeezed the genitals of the Welsh player and he did not accept that it warranted a red card.

The disciplinary committee, which comprised David Hurley (Ireland), Sarah Smith (Scotland) and Stefan Terblanche (South Africa), heard evidence and submissions from Marler and his legal counsel, Richard Smith respectively (as well as from Six Nations’ legal representative). 

It was decided that Marler had committed an act of foul play (an infringement of law 9.27) and that it had warranted a red card, so the citing complaint was upheld.

The disciplinary committee determined that the act of foul play warranted a low-end entry point (twelve weeks) and reduced that by three weeks to take account of mitigating factors (including good character and remorse). 

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However, they then increased it by one week to take account of Marler’s most recent disciplinary record, leaving him suspended for ten weeks.

Given his current playing schedule, he is free to resume playing on Monday, June 8.

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