Marler to miss opening Six Nations matches

LONDON – England, who are Six Nations defending champions, will be without prop Joe Marler for at least the opening two matches of the tournament. This is after he was banned for six weeks on Tuesday.

Marler, 27, whose career has been bedevilled by disciplinary issues- was handed the suspension by an independent Rugby Football Union (RFU) disciplinary panel after he was sent off at the weekend in his club Harlequins’30-29 Premiership defeat by Sale.

Marler is going to miss the games against Italy on February 4 in Rome as well as the game against Wales at Twichenham a week later. The ban will end just four days before their third match against Scotland at Murrayfield.  “Joe Marler of Harlequins appeared before an independent disciplinary panel this evening after receiving a red card from referee Matt Carley during Saturday’s Premiership match against Sale Sharks,” the RFU statement read.

“He was sent off in the 58th minute for striking with the shoulder and making contact with Sale Sharks’ TJ Loane.

“Marler pleaded guilty to the charges and was suspended for a period of six weeks.”

“He is available to play again on 20 February 2018.”

Loane got a two week suspension for striking Marler with his arm. The flank from Samoa admitted to the charge and will miss two upcoming European Challenge Cup matches.

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