Joe Marler is not racist, says Harlequins boss Conor O’Shea

England prop Joe Marler has been described as “not in any way shape or form racist” just hours after being was told he will face an independent misconduct hearing for verbally abusing Samson Lee.

Joe Marler is not racist, says Harlequins boss Conor O’Shea

Conor O’Shea, Marler’s club coach at Harlequins, has leant his support to the under-fire forward.

“He is not in any way shape or form racist,” O’Shea said. “He is an edgy person, he made a mistake, and he apologised.

“Does he know that he has got a responsibility? Of course he does. Do we accept it? Of course we don’t, but some of the vitriol that has been directed to him is tough for a 25-year old to take and he has to take it on the chin.

“I am not going to talk about political correctness, I am not going to talk about banter. He knows he shouldn’t have said it. He apologised at half-time, he knew it was wrong.

“I had a good sit-down with him (on Tuesday). You couldn’t get anything further from a bloke that is racist going.”

World Rugby has announced England prop Joe Marler will face an independent misconduct hearing for verbally abusing Wales’ Samson Lee. Marler had escaped punishment from the Six Nations for calling the Wales prop “gypsy boy” during England’s 25-21 victory on March 12 but World Rugby has deemed action should have been taken.

A statement from the governing body read: “World Rugby is of the view that the comments amount to misconduct and/or a breach of the code of conduct under World Rugby Regulation 20 and should have been considered by an independent process. In the absence of such a process by Six Nations Rugby, World Rugby is exercising its right to take appropriate action before an independent judicial committee.”

Marler apologised to Lee for the insult at half-time and was subsequently reprimanded by England head coach Eddie Jones, but the decision not to sanction him was met by an outcry.

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