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'It was an assault' | Should t...
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'It was an assault' | Should the book be thrown at Joe Marler?

Eoin Harte
Eoin Harte

12:53 8 Mar 2020

Joe Marler should have the ‘book thrown at him’ by World Rugby for groping Alun Wyn Jones, according to Sarah O’Donovan.

The former Dublin and Cork camogie player was speaking on Off The Ball about the unsavoury incident from yesterday's Six Nations game between England and Wales at Twickenham, and had no sympathy for the England international.

“Alun wyn Jones protested at the time that the match officials didn’t look at it. Obviously it got lots of coverage on Twitter. I saw lots of tweets from people saying, ‘Do you go to work and get assaulted?’ Because that’s essentially what happened.

“It’s a physical contact that wasn’t warranted. That’s an assault. I didn’t realise until after [the match] that World Rugby actually has a sanction for it. It’s 12 to 24 weeks.

“Looking at it yesterday - it wasn’t ambiguous. It didn’t happen in a ruck, it was very public and it was very obvious,” O’Donovan said.

Marler has been known to wind up the opposition in his time as a professional rugby player, but O’Donovan felt that he went too far this time.

“It was like psychological warfare. If that’s what you’re bringing to the game as a player and that’s all you have to offer I think that’s really naive.

There’s a 12 to 24-week punishment for this and I think he should get the book thrown at him. It should be completely stamped out. It is an assault. Nobody should go to work and get assaulted,” O’Donovan said.

The Wales captain kept a cool head at the time of the incident, as well as in the post-match press conference and the former camogie player commended Jones for how he handled himself.

“I was impressed with the way he spoke but he also tried to defend Joe’s character. I think from my mind, it was probably in an effort to make it go away.

“If he’s negative in the press conference towards Joe then it runs for another three or four days. I think he tried to shut down the story rather than exploit it.

“I really feel that, in his position, he did an amazing job in terms of keeping his composure and keeping control.

“But I certainly think the book should be thrown at Joe. 24 weeks because it is not ambiguous, it did happen and the full letter of the law should be used for it,” O’Donovan said.

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Alun Wyn Jones England Joe Marler Sarah O'donovan Six Nations Wales

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