Contrarian TV broadcaster Piers Morgan has called out Wales skipper Alun Wyn Jones for exaggerating the Guinness Six Nations incident that resulted in England prop Joe Marler getting banned for ten weeks earlier this year.

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Marler was punished for what he admitted was a brain fart moment, grabbing the Welsh lock’s private parts during the first half of the game last March at Twickenham.    

Cited in the aftermath after the unusual fondle-gate incident dominated the fallout from the match that England had won 33-30, Marler looked set to miss the end of the season only for the pandemic to call a half to the action and see him miss no matches despite the lengthy suspension. 

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Marler is now on the book promotion circuit, generating publicity for his newly published Loose Head autobiography, but his appearance on Good Morning Britain was more noteworthy for presenter Morgan’s own opinion on Jones than the England prop explaining in his reply that he and the Welsh captain had spoken since the incident and cleared the air.  

Addressing what he described as a “ridiculously overblown controversy”, Morgan said to Marler: “I’ve known rugby players in my village for 40 years. This seemed to me, on the scale of things you all do to each other, about 0.001 on the Richter scale, and it became this enormous scandal – you had to be banned for ten weeks.

“I found the whole thing completely baffling. Were you bemused that everyone threw their toys out of the pram about it? I didn’t think there was anything wrong at all. I thought the reaction of Alun Wyn Jones, he’s a 6ft 5in monster, the idea that he felt in any way that this was offensive or whatever was ridiculous.”

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Marler replied: “It was a bit of a brain-fart moment, really. Do I accept what I did was wrong? Not so much the action, but the time and the place of it. Because, between two friends, having a laugh, I completely got that wrong on that occasion.

“Everyone has got a right to feel how they want to feel about it. Me and Alun Wyn have since spoken and we got on absolutely fine. He obviously took a lot of flak after it and it was just one of those brain fart moments that I didn’t think anything of.

“No way am I prepared to accept those people that come out and say it was sexual assault or sexual harassment, but it was one of those moments in my career that happened and we move on with it.”

On hearing this, Morgan suggested Marler should repeat the incident. “You probably should do it again, it made me laugh. I thought the brain fart was on the people who went nuts about it, not on you.”

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Marler recently generated headlines for his revelations about his mental health, his openness receiving kudos from people around the sport of rugby.    

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