Marler Escapes Punishment

Joe Marler is free to play for England after controversial comments made towards Samson Lee during their Six Nations match last weekend.

He questioned the heritage of Lee during the clash at Twickenham.

The prop quickly apologised following the incident, and Lee accepted that his words with not "racist in intent".

Marler was spared sanction for striking Rob Evans in the same game.

He'll now be available for Saturday's finale with France.

Wales rugby union coach Warren Gatland has apologised for suggesting derogatory words about the heritage of his player Samson Lee should be considered "banter".

Gatland says he was trying to take the focus away from Lee, who has accepted an apology from Marler.

The player says he doesn't believe the comments were "racist in intent".

Warren Gatland said:“I don't condone racism of any kind. I apologise for any offence my use of the word banter may have caused.
 My intention was to take the focus away from Samson, a private individual, and enable him and the rest of squad to prepare for the final game of the championship. My comments were made following a discussion with Samson about the incident.  

"He believed Joe made his comment in the heat of the moment, he later regretted it and apologised, but Samson believes it wasn't racist in intent and he accepted Joe's apology.

"While we await the findings of the Six Nations investigation into this incident it would be inappropriate for me, Samson or the team to comment further on this matter.”

Samson Lee said: “I would like to explain my point of view. I stand beside Warren. I personally believe the comments to have been intended as banter and accepted Joe's apology on Saturday.

"Warren is fiercely protective of the team and his comments were made based on conversations with me and with the intention of deflecting attention away from me.” 

The WRU has released a statement saying:“The WRU does not condone racism of any kind. The incident is being investigated by Six Nations and we would welcome a definitive and speedy conclusion to their investigation.

"The WRU recognises that Warren’s overriding intention was to protect Samson by playing down the incident and that his comments were made following a thorough consultation with Samson and with his support.”


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