- By James Nadel
England v Wales 6 Nations marred by allegations of racially aggravated assaults
With teams playing for a shot at claiming this years 6 Nations, England v Wales was always going to be a hard fought game full of great skill and high passions.
There have been immediate calls however for England’s Joe Marler should be banned for racially abusing Welsh prop Samson Lee during Saturday’s match.
Shay Clipson, who is the founder of the National Alliance of the Gypsy, Traveller and Roma women. has written to the RFU and Six Nations to complain about the “racially aggravated offence”, for which Marler apologised at half-time.
Clipson told BBC Radio 5 live: “They really must suspend Marler and the suspension must be specific to this offence.”
England head coach Eddie Jones has been criticized for appearing to condone racism when he said the Harlequins player just “made a mistake”.
But Jones’ remark after the game that “you don’t apologise at half-time in a game of rugby unless you mean it” has simply left English rugby in general seem racist and naive to the international community. Both physical assault and racially aggravated verbal assaults are criminal offences in England and Wales, the traveler community has voiced it’s concern that a simple apology at half time does not go far enough to make things right.
Marler, 25, has been cited for allegedly striking Wales prop Rob Evans in the 15th minute of England’s 25-21 victory at Twickenham on Saturday in a physical assault.
Separately, Marler is also under investigation by Six Nations officials for the racist comments towards Lee, who is from the traveller community.
Wales’ assistant coach Rob Howley said there was no room in the game for the sort of remark made by Marler.
“As players and coaches, there’s banter in the game but I think there’s no place for that.” he said.
Former England centre Jeremy Guscott said Marler needed to be punished for the comment and said it would be “inappropriate” for his half-time apology to be deemed sufficient.