Manu Tuilagi receives four-week suspension

Joe Marler banned for ten weeks for Alun Wyn Jones incident

England prop Joe Marler has been banned for ten weeks for grabbing Alun Wyn Jones’s genitals during Saturday’s Six Nations victory over Wales.

Marler was cited for acts against the spirit of good sportsmanship (Law 9.27) following the incident with the Wales captain early on in the match.

A Six Nations statement read: “Mr 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.”

Related: Alun Wyn Jones reacts to fondling incident with Joe Marler

The disciplinary committee upheld the citing, believing the act did warrant a red card, but found it had a low-end entry point of 12 weeks’ suspension. That was reduced by three weeks to take into account good character and remorse but is increased by one week due to Marler’s recent disciplinary record.

The Harlequins front-rower is banned until Monday 8 June, taking into account his club’s Premiership Cup final this weekend and nine remaining regular league matches.

Harlequins have released a statement saying that they are disappointed in the length of the ban considering shorter suspensions for other offences – a punch in the Scotland v France match resulted in only a three-week ban for example (see below).

The Quins statement read: “Whilst not in any way condoning Joe’s actions last Saturday we are disappointed at the level of sanction applied, particularly when compared to other disciplinary decisions announced this week.”

Joe Marler banned for ten weeks for Alun Wyn Jones incident

High charge: The Manu Tuilagi hit on George North (Getty Images)

Meanwhile, England centre Manu Tuilagi has been suspended for four weeks for his dangerous no-arms tackle on George North in the 75th minute of the match for which he was red-carded.

It was ruled a mid-range entry point (six weeks’ suspension) that was reduced to four weeks due to good conduct and immediate remorse. Tuilagi is free to play on 14 April 2020.

The citing against Courtney Lawes for a dangerous tackle on Jones was not upheld and he is free to play immediately.

As for the red card shown to Mohamed Haouas for punching Jamie Ritchie in Sunday’s Scotland v France match, the France prop has been banned for three weeks.

The committee decided on a mid-range entry point of six weeks and halved it to three on account of his good conduct, guilty plea and relative inexperience at international level.

The April issue of Rugby World magazine – focusing on a new generation of Six Nations stars – is out now.

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