JOE MARLER could have been waking up with a sore chin and head had this game been played 20 years ago.
Because Alun Wyn Jones could well have delivered an uppercut for his bizarre b******- grabbing balls-up.
Joe knows that too, which is why he was probably trying to draw a reaction from the Welshman — and to be fair to Jones he was very professional about it.
I played over 100 times with Joe for England and Harlequins and he’s not a dirty player, but he does love a wind-up.
He likes the role of pantomime villain, even if this has become the biggest discussion point, despite one of his best games in an England shirt. I’m sure over these last 24 hours he will be wondering why everyone is talking about the moment he manhandled Jones’ manhood.
But deep down, he will know why it has caused such a storm and will realise he got it wrong.
He loves living on the edge and getting under the skin, and seemingly pants, of the opposition. But this crossed the line.
Initially you think it’s a bit of harmless afters and he was just trying to lighten the mood and reacquaint himself with his former Lions pal.
However, you then think — why is he going there? Is it disrespectful to a legend of the game? This is a guy with 138 caps and captain of his country.
Wales skipper Big Al wanted the TV match official to have a look at the incident after raising it with the touch judge.
I think Marius Jonker, the TMO, may have been scrambling around in the law book if he had been asked at the time.
It is hard to predict what the outcome might have been, but maybe, given the duty to upholding the spirit of the game, it should have been a talking to and slap on the wrist, or a yellow card.
The whistle had gone, Joe wasn’t trying to get an advantage mid play and there wasn’t any intent to damage or cause harm.
Jones showed remarkable resilience and knows that these days there is zero self-policing with all the cameras on you. You leave it all to the officials now.
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