Harlequins’ England prop Joe Marler has been given a two-week ban for comments made to a Bristol Bears player while playing for his club this week, the Rugby Football Union (RFU) said.
The 32-year-old Marler faced a hearing on Friday where he answered the charge of making comments “prejudicial to the game” during Tuesday’s defeat by Bristol.
Marler, who made comments about a family member of Jake Heenan’s after a fracas, will be available for the Six Nations.
“The player accepted that his conduct was prejudicial to the interests of the game,” RFU panel chair Gareth Graham said.
“The insulting and offensive comments made by the player were wholly inappropriate; such comments should form no part of the modern game.
The panel also handed down an additional four-week ban suspended until the end of the 2023/24 season, which may be activated should Marler commit a similar offence.
“The panel had regard to the entry points for breaches of Law 9.12 (acts of verbal abuse) and of Law 9.27 (acts contrary to good sportsmanship).
“The panel also had regard to the player’s poor disciplinary record (as an aggravating feature) and to the fact he had accepted the charge and had apologised to the Bristol player (as mitigating factors).”
Marler has a chequered disciplinary history.
In 2016 he called Wales prop Samson Lee ‘gypsy boy’ and in 2020 he was hit with a 10-week ban for grabbing the testicles of another Wales player Alun Wyn Jones.