Joe Marler banned for two weeks for comments made towards Jake Heenan

Joe Marler has been banned for two weeks with a further four weeks suspended for comments made towards Bristol flanker Jake Heenan.

Harlequins and England prop Marler, who accepted a charge of conduct prejudicial to the game, made the remarks during the first half of Tuesday’s Gallagher Premiership match that reportedly related to Heenan’s mother.

The extra four-week suspension will be activated should the 32-year-old commit a similar offence before the end of the 2023-24 season, while he must also give a presentation to a local club or school, and to a Premiership academy, on the core values of the game.

Gareth Graham, who chaired the disciplinary panel, said: “The insulting and offensive comments made by the player were wholly inappropriate; such comments should form no part of the modern game.”

It is Marler’s latest brush with the rugby authorities. In 2016, he received a two-week suspension and was fined £20,000 for calling Wales prop Samson Lee “gypsy boy”, and two years ago he received a 10-week ban for grabbing Wales lock Alun Wyn Jones’ genitals during a Six Nations game.

The disciplinary panel took Marler’s chequered history into account but also noted that he had apologised to Heenan.

Speaking ahead of the hearing, Quins head coach Tabai Matson said: “Clearly, he (Marler) is really apologetic.

Marler's comments sparked a fracas
Marler’s comments sparked a fracas (Andrew Matthews/PA)

“He didn’t know the full context of what he said. What he said was wrong. He reached out to Jake and Jake replied and accepted his apology and then they had a good chat after that.

“He has been apologetic to us as well. He is annoyed that he has dragged the club into this kerfuffle.”

Marler’s ban means he will miss Premiership matches against Northampton and Sale.