Joe Marler 'must get ban' for calling Samson Lee 'Gypsy boy'

Joe Marler and Samson Lee
Joe Marler, second left, clashes with Samson Lee at Twickenham
Six Nations: France v England
Date: Saturday, 19 March Venue: Stade de France, Paris Kick-off: 20:00 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC One, BBC Radio 5 live, BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app, plus live text commentary.

England's Joe Marler should be banned for calling Wales prop Samson Lee "Gypsy boy" during Saturday's match, a Traveller community campaigner says.

Shay Clipson has written to the Rugby Football Union and Six Nations to complain about the "racially aggravated offence", for which Marler apologised.

She told BBC Radio 5 live: "They really must suspend Marler and the suspension must be specific to this offence."

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Rob Howley: No place in the game for 'Gypsy boy' remark

England head coach Eddie Jones said the Harlequins prop "made a mistake".

But the Australian's remark that "you don't apologise at half-time in a game of rugby unless you mean it" has drawn criticism from Clipson.

"He must think we are all extremely naive," said the founder of the National Alliance of the Gypsy, Traveller and Roma Women. "That is a totally ridiculous thing to say."

Marler, 25, is under investigation by Six Nations officials for the comment towards Lee, who is from the Traveller community.

He has also been cited for allegedly striking Wales prop Rob Evans in the 15th minute of England's 25-21 victory at Twickenham on Saturday.

Jones, whose side have already won the competition and are chasing a Grand Slam, says he will consider Marler for Saturday's final game in France until told otherwise.

Clipson said Marler "cannot make mistakes like that and expect to just say sorry and walk away".

She added that the public had to imagine what the reaction would have been had a black or Asian player been subject to that sort of derogatory remark.

Wales assistant coach Rob Howley also criticised Marler: "As players and coaches, there's banter in the game, but I think there's no place for that."

Former England centre Jeremy Guscott said Marler needed to be punished and said it would be "inappropriate" if his half-time apology was deemed sufficient.

Six Nations schedule
Date (All times GMT)FixtureCoverage
Sat, 19 Mar (14:30 KO)Wales v ItalyBBC One, S4C and BBC Radio
Sat, 19 Mar (17:00 KO)Ireland v ScotlandITV and BBC Radio
Sat, 19 Mar, (20:00 KO)France v EnglandBBC One and BBC Radio

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