It is often said that rugby is a hooligan’s game played by gentleman but whoever coined that particular phrase probably wasn’t talking about England’s Joe Marler, after a particularly eye-watering video went viral on social media.
During an early break in play during Saturday’s Six Nations encounter between England and Wales at Twickenham, eagle-eyed TV viewers picked up on an incident involving the notoriously hard-nosed English prop attempting to get one over on Welsh captain Alun Wyn Jones.
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The clip appears to show Marler grab his opponent’s crotch in a moment somewhat reminiscent of the technique Vinnie Jones employed to stifle a young Paul Gascoigne way back in 1988.
While social media didn’t exist back in Gazza’s day, Marler’s attempt to play a different type of ball didn’t go unnoticed by fans on Twitter.
Joe Marler on Alun Wyn Jones… pic.twitter.com/YHxoKCkNOf
— Murray Kinsella (@Murray_Kinsella) March 7, 2020
So what was @JoeMarler checking for here then with @AlunWynJones wrong kind of tackle mate 😂😂😂 #touchy #whatsonyourtrunk #ENGvWAL #England #wales @WelshRugbyUnion @EnglandRugby #nuts #tackle #tackling pic.twitter.com/342Dab8Yjh
— Marcus Weedon (@MarcusWeedon) March 7, 2020
📷 30 years ago yesterday this photo of Gazza & Vinnie Jones was taken.
Who remembers this iconic moment? ⚽️ pic.twitter.com/h2BVRXER12
— MJK Sports Events (@mjksportsevents) February 7, 2018
The incident appeared to escape the attention of referee Ben O’Keeffe, despite the Welsh skipper clearly remonstrating to a nearby official.
Rugby players, though, are made of a different stock to some of their soccer counterparts and the moment didn’t end with anyone rolling around on the floor or a gaggle of irate sportsmen surrounding a match official requesting a yellow card – even if Jones likely had an opportunity or two to get back at the English prop over the course of the 80 minutes.
In the end, it will be Marler who will be the more satisfied with his afternoon’s work as his side claimed their third win from four games so far this tournament with a 33-30 scoreline.
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