England prop Joe Marler has been ‘hung out to dry’ and made the subject of ‘an excruciating media witch-hunt’ after being called to account by World Rugby over the Samson Lee ‘gypsy boy’ insult.

That’s the view of the English Rugby Players’ Association, which has issued an extraordinarily worded statement on the affair through its chief executive Damian Hopley.


Marler will face World Rugby chiefs next week to answer for his racial slur directed at Lee during England’s win against Wales at Twickenham earlier this month.

The global governing body intervened after a Six Nations disciplinary panel cleared Marler, exonerating him after he had apologised to Lee at half-time of the game.

But Hopley has turned his fire on the process, saying prolonging it ‘defies belief’, that Marler was not racially motivated and that it is time to ‘draw a line and move on’.

Read more on Wales Online.