Rugby star defends below-the-belt squeeze

England rugby star Joe Marler has hit out over “Tweakgate”.

Welsh skipper Alun Wyn Jones wants World Rugby chiefs to punish prop Marler, who grabbed Jones by the testicles during England’s 33-30 Six Nations win at Twickenham on Sunday, The Sunreports.

World Rugby’s Law 10 states anyone found guilty of “testicle grabbing, twisting or squeezing” faces a minimum 12-week suspension, while the maximum penalty is a four-year ban, and some on social media even demanded Marler be charged with sexual assault.

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Joe Marler at the 2019 Rugby World CupSource:Getty Images

“If I react I get a red card. Hopefully World Rugby have a look at it,” Jones said.

“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.”

But Marler made his reaction to the fallout known in no uncertain terms when he took to Twitter on Monday.

Bollocks. Complete bollocks.

Former Test cricketer Kevin Pietersen defended Marler’s actions, tweeting on Monday: “Bit of funny and damn funny! Idiot brigade can just do one!”

Ex-Wales and Lions centre Gareth Thomas, who came out as gay in 2009, joked about the incident on live TV. “It would never have happened in my day and I’m really upset about that — because if it had I would have never retired!” he said.

There was a backlash on social media over the 45-year-old’s reaction to the incident, and Thomas later issued an apology.

To the VERY small minority of people who were offended by my comment yesterday I apologise. I tried to find humour in a situation-that doesn’t mean I condone it, it means I wanted it to not be an issue. So don’t change the narrative to justify how you feel.❤️Be kind❤️

Meanwhile, England centre Manu 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 of the win over Wales following Ellis Genge’s sin binning.

In a shameful weekend for rugby, France’s Mohamed Haouas was also sent off for a full-force punch to the face of Scotland’s Jamie Ritchie as the Scots won 28-17 at Murrayfield.

The defeat ended Les Bleus’ Six Nations hopes.

England remain atop the 2020 Six Nations ladder, with three wins in four encounters.

This article was originally published in The Sun and republished with permission

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