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Rugby player banned for 10 weeks for grabbing an opponent’s genitals

English rugby player Joe Marler has been handed a 10-week ban for grabbing an opponent’s genitals.

The incident occurred during the Six Nations match between England and Wales on Saturday (07.03.20) when Marler squeezed the groin area of Welsh captain Alun Wyn Jones during a scuffle between opposing players, according to a report by CNN.

A disciplinary hearing in Dublin on Thursday, the Six Nations panel decided to punish Marler for his actions.

“The Disciplinary Committee found that the act of foul play warranted a low-end entry point (12 weeks’ suspension) and reduced that by three weeks to take account of mitigating factors (including good character and remorse) but increased it by one week to take account of his most recent disciplinary record,” said a statement on England’s Rugby Football Union website.

Marler is famous in rugby for highlighting the lighter side of the game; the Harlequins player has been caught on camera exchanging banter with referees and winding up opponents along with giving entertaining interviews.

The 29-year-old Marler will be free to resume playing on Monday, June 8. He has the right to appeal the ban.

The incident has divided opinion within the rugby world. Harlequins scrum-half Danny Care has defended Marler, saying: “I’ve lost count of the number of people who have touched my genitals in a game of rugby.”

Marler hasn’t spoken at length about the incident in public but, after many voiced their opposition to his actions, he tweeted: “Bllocks. Complete bllocks.” He later deleted the tweet.

This isn’t the first time an incident of this kind has occurred on the rugby field.

Second-row George Robson was banned for six weeks for grabbing an opponent’s testicles in 2016, while Samoa’s James So’oialo was cleared of grabbing the testicles of Adriaan Strauss in 2013 after the act was deemed accidental.

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