Joe Marler got hold of his opponent's tackle.
Joe Marler got hold of his opponent's tackle.

Footy grub’s X-rated below-the-belt act

Rugby star Joe Marler faces a minimum 12-week ban for a below-the-belt grab on Alun Wyn Jones during England's 33-30 win over Wales in the Six Nations.

And England coach Eddie Jones could be disciplined for accusing Kiwi ref Ben O'Keefe of being biased towards Wales for sending off Manu Tuilagi, The Sun reports.

Welsh skipper Jones demanded action against English prop Marler after being on the receiving end of the bizarre squeeze.

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Jones declared: "If I react I get a red card. Hopefully World Rugby have a look at it.

"Joe is a good bloke ... but there is all the footage that has been shown and a lot of supporters have seen what has happened.

"I looked across at the touch judge and he obviously didn't see anything. But we talk a lot about TMOs and what they review, so it was frustrating this wasn't dealt with there."

World Rugby's Law 10 states that anyone found guilty of "testicle grabbing, twisting or squeezing" faces a minimum 12-week suspension, while the maximum penalty is a four-year ban.

But ex-Wales and Lions centre Gareth Thomas, who came out as gay in 2009, joked: "It would never have happened in my day and I'm really upset about that - because if it had I would have never retired!"

England centre Tuilagi faces a six-week ban for his dangerous head-high tackle on winger George North which earned him a late red card and reduced England to 13 men for the last five minutes following Ellis Genge's sin binning.

But after England survived two late converted tries for a deserved 33-30 triumph, Eddie Jones blasted whistleblower O'Keefe.

"Absolute rubbish, ridiculous. How else are you supposed to tackle him? At the end we were 13 against 16. There was no common sense applied but we had to cope with it," Jones said.

"Clearly, North is falling, Manu is coming over the top to kill the tackle and is doing everything he is supposed to be doing and gets red carded. Come on!

"I don't know what Manu is supposed to do in that situation. How else do you tackle if you don't tackle with your shoulder? The guy is like literally half metre off the ground. I find that bizarre."

However, England's World Cup-winning legends Sir Clive Woodward and Johnny Wilkinson both condemned Tuilagi's tackle.

Jones added: "It was a good, tough win against quality opposition and we were brilliant. Our resources were tested and I thought our recovery, emotionally, was outstanding.

"Six Nations is massively important to win at home, because you get run out of town if you don't."

Eddie Jones was filthy with the officiating.
Eddie Jones was filthy with the officiating.

Wales suffered their first ever slump of three tournament defeats in a row since 2007.

And new coach Wayne Pivac said: "We're disappointed not to come out on top.

"We're our own worst enemies at the minute. We're working hard behind the scenes to get it right over the 80 minutes, and I think we're heading in the right direction. We're contributing to the result in terms of too many errors.

"In the second half, there were some good attacking raids with multiple phases when we put England under pressure. If we can do that for longer periods in games, and get our game management a little bit better, we'll be in a pretty good space."

This article first appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission


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