England secured an impressive win over Wales yesterday, but the post-match headlines have been dominated by an incident involving Joe Marler and Alun Wyn Jones.
Marler appeared to grab the genitals of the Wales captain in the first half, with the incident clearly picked up by cameras at the time. Despite this, he was not sanctioned by the officials. Jones would come out after the game to say it was unacceptable, while the Englishman has also been widely criticised for his conduct.
Some have tried to play the incident off as a lighthearted attempt at humour by the player, but it is likely that he will be sanctioned.
There were differing opinions on the matter on Virgin Media this afternoon. Matt Williams said that Marler's actions were absolutely unacceptable, but Ronan O'Gara's criticism was nowhere near as strong. He said that this was a ill-judged attempt at humour from the player, with the former Munster man hoping that the player was not severely punished.
Two incidents have been in the headlines following England v Wales.
▪️ Joe Marler grabbing Alun Wyn Jones' genitals.
▪️ Manu Tuilagi's red card.
ROG, @MattRCNM & Shane Horgan discuss both incidents here, including AWJ & Eddie Jones' reactions.#GuinnessSixNations #VMTVRugby pic.twitter.com/QRGYBQOqBy
— Virgin Media Sport (@VMSportIE) March 8, 2020
Williams: There's absolutely no place for this in the game. It's a terrible example for kids out there, we don't want anyone replicating that.
Joe Marler's attempt at humour has seriously backfired on him, it was a really silly thing to do...
O'Gara: I'm struggling on this one a little bit in that I don't think there's any malicious intent to injure a player, that's foul play. For me that's foul play, does it come under foul play? No.
I think he's trying to be funny and it backfired spectacularly. I understand that there's rules and regulations, but there's also a little bit of sense of humour involved in it. To him it's very funny...
It's heat of the moment, he's in that. It's very easy for us to sit here judging with a little bit of cold blood about it. When athletes are under the pump they do crazy things, that was something that happened, but I think if you look back at his personality it's consistent with his personality.
The game needs characters. I don't think this is the best example of what he does, but we're always complaining when people say nothing in press conferences.
It's probably not a line in what I'm trying to say here. I just hope that there's common sense, that he's not punished severely. That's my personal take on it.