Former England back Mike Brown has heavily criticised Wales skipper Alun Wyn Jones for throwing Joe Marler ‘under the bus’ during Grabgate.
Jones called on World Rugby to review an incident during his side’s 33-30 Six Nations defeat to England on Saturday when opposition prop Marler appeared to grab his groin.
This week Marler was banned for 10-weeks for the grab, a ban Brown has labeled shocking and the result of a ‘witchhunt’.
Writing in his Mail Online column, Brown, himself known for his on-field antics, says if the roles had been reversed, the incident would have been laughed off.
“It was a silly mistake I’m not condoning but all it warranted was a slap on the wrist. Instead, he has been the victim of a witch-hunt and an equally ridiculous outcome.”
“What concerns me is that rugby seems to be guilty of double standards, with the sport treating certain people in certain ways.
“If the roles were reversed between Marler and Jones, would there be all this hysteria? I’m not sure. Jones is pinned up like some kind of saint. He hounded Kyle Sinckler for the whole game last year with verbals and cheapshots but he was hailed as a genius. If I did that, all the Welsh fans would be calling me every name under the sun.”
Brown says the Welsh skipper wouldn’t have asked World Rugby to act, had Wales won the match.
“As soon as Jones made an issue out of the Marler incident in his press conference, it was inevitable the story would turn into a circus.
“As soon as an incident starts generating headlines, World Rugby have to be seen to be doing something about it.”
Brown says that what surprised him more was Jones’ willingness to throw a former teammate under the bus. Jones and Marler have toured together as British and Irish Lions. The Harlequins fullback argues that the Welsh skipper pushing heat on Marler was effectively breaking an unwritten rule of rugby, that you don’t turn on a fellow player.
“By all accounts, Jones is an intelligent guy with a law degree. He must have known that by criticising the officials for not picking up on the incident it would turn up the heat on Marler. They have been on Lions tours together so I was surprised by that. There’s an unwritten rule that you don’t turn on another player unless they’ve done something beyond the pale. Maybe I’m just too old-school?”
Brown also spoke of the abuse Marler and his family had received online.
“The attacks that Marler and his family have received on social media are disgusting. The people involved in that should be investigated. His wife, Daisy, has had abuse. People messaging her saying, ‘How can you let this guy near your kids.’ It’s a disgrace.”
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