England prop Joe Marler has broken his silence on the Alun Wyn Jones incident in typical Joe Marler fashion.
Marler was hit with a 10-week ban after grabbing Jones’ genitals during a Six Nations game against Wales in March.
But due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Marler hasn’t missed many games with all rugby competitions in Europe on hold for the time being.
Speaking on the Virtual Rugby Show in support of Lawrence Dallaglio’s RugbyWorks foundation, Marler said he hadn’t spoken to Jones since the incident.
Marler admitted it was the wrong thing to do on the field but disagreed with people who claimed it was sexual assault in the workplace.
Massive news coming out of Leicester. https://t.co/6jekCxvmgL
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) June 30, 2020
“We spoke when the huge storm was going off, then,” Marler said.
“I understood his position as a 140-odd capped international with some heavy gravitas in the game, the position he holds and the pressure he can sometimes be put under.
“What I did was inappropriate and wrong on that stage. The people that came out and compared it to sexual assault in the workplace completely blew my mind but I did stop for a second and take on their opinions and how they were made to feel about it all.
“They are completely entitled to their opinion and I respect that. However, I didn’t sexually assault someone in the workplace. I tickled someone’s k**b, as a laugh, who I’d known for several years now, on the wrong stage, really.
“I should have probably waited for there not to be cameras around but it was a bit of a brain fart.”
Marler had previously addressed the matter on Twitter, posting: “Bollocks. Complete bollocks.”
At the time, Jones said it was a difficult position to be in because he if had reacted to Marler he would have been the one sent off, while Marler remained on the field despite cameras capturing the act.
“Yeah, it was interesting,” Jones said at the time. “I’ve played 138 tests for my country and if I react I get a red card. It’s tough, isn’t it? Hopefully World Rugby takes a look at it. Joe’s a good bloke. Lots of things happen on a rugby field.
“It’s difficult as a captain these days it feels like as a captain you can’t speak to a referee about anything. I had a look at the touch judge and he obviously didn’t see what happened which is fine.
“There’s a lot of footage that has been shown. It seems there’s a lot of supporters that saw what happened. It’s very frustrating. We talk a lot about TMOs and reviewing footage and there doesn’t seem to be a lot of it happening.”
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