Gypsy campaigner calls for Marler ban

Joe Marler and Samson Lee

Joe Marler, second left, clashes with Samson Lee at Twickenham

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 RFU and Six Nations to complain about the “racially aggravated offence”, for which Marler apologised at half-time.

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 has said the Harlequins player “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 drawn criticism from Clipson, who is the founder of the National Alliance of the Gypsy, Traveller and Roma women.

“I think he must think we are all extremely naive,” she said. “That is a totally ridiculous thing to say.”

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.

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

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

Clipson said Marler was someone people look up to and “cannot make mistakes like that and expect to just say sorry and walk away”.

She added: “It is totally unacceptable and I think people have to look at this as how they would view it if it had been a black or an Asian player that had had that sort of derogatory remark.”

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” if his half-time apology was deemed sufficient.

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