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The post-game reaction to unpunished Marler incident with Tuisue

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Ian Kington/AFP via Getty Images)

Steve Borthwick has refused to comment on speculation that Joe Marler could be cited in the coming days following an unpunished head shot on Fiji’s Albert Tuisue at Twickenham.

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England were left reeling in midweek when bans were given to skipper Owen Farrell and No8 Billy Vunipola following their recent Summer Nations Series red cards, sanctions that will see them sit out the opening September 9 opening match at the Rugby World Cup versus Argentina in Marseille.

Now, Marler could be in hot water following his second-half collision during England’s underwhelming 22-30 loss to the Fijians in their last outing before the finals.

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Referee Jaco Peyper was told by his support staff that they didn’t have the angles so they could properly assess the alleged foul play and this resulted in Marler being allowed to continue on after an incident that left Tuisue requiring a HIA that he passed.

Fiji were surprised that no action was taken at the time and they said so at their post-match briefing.

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England boss Borthwick, meanwhile, sidestepped the matter, instead generalising that he had been left bewildered by decisions made in matches separate from the ones that his team played in this month.

“As ever, I’m not going to comment,” he deflected when asked for his thoughts on the Marler collision. “I know you will have watched the game last night [All Blacks versus Springboks] and you look at some of those incidents that happened and it is quite surprising.

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“In terms of (Marler), I won’t be commenting on anything in that aspect. I said beforehand during the week the process we always respect. We find it quite bewildering what has happened over the last few weeks. There was one or two things I found bewildering watching the other games but I will just respect the process.”

Fiji boss Simon Raiwalui reckoned: “During the game, we thought it was clear head contact. The referee’s job is the hardest job in the world. There is scrutinises, there is slo-mos. Yeah, it was surprising. I did think there was head contact there.

“I was surprised he [Tuisue] was okay, he was good, he came back onto the field but at the time I thought it was a high shot direct to the head. Yeah, it’s a difficult one.

“Obviously, they don’t have the angles. All you want as a coach is consistency, consistency in the process and I think the referees in large do a great job.

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“Like I say, it’s the toughest job in the world. Everyone is looking at them, everyone is looking at what they are doing.. and we appreciate everything they do.”

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