Six Nations

Haskell slams Marler's 'trial by social media'

James Haskell has weighed in on the furore surrounding Joe Marler's "gypsy boy" comment towards Wales' Samson Lee, claiming his England team-mate has been subject to trial by social media.

Marler was cited for the remark after England's Six Nations contest against Wales at Twickenham on March 12, but the competition's organisers and the Rugby Football Union opted to take no further action.

However, World Rugby decided his actions contravened the laws of the game and the prop is set for a misconduct hearing on April 5.

Rugby Players' Association (RPA) chief executive Damian Hopley claimed Marler had been "hung out to dry" and is the victim of an "excruciating media witch hunt".

And Haskell echoed the sentiments, telling the Daily Mail: "I think the whole thing is a load of nonsense and completely boring.

"I don't understand why everyone is still banging on about it. I think it is absolute rubbish the whole thing. I think it has been dealt with five times and don't understand why everyone has to put their two penny in.

"For me, it's just another trial by social media. I think Joe is a real good guy. I think if people heard the banter flying around in that Wales game or any other [they would see it differently].

"He's apologised, everyone else has. I never condone racism anywhere. But go and ask what Samson Lee's nickname in the squad is. Ask that and come back."

Haskell also spoke of his respect for head coach Eddie Jones, saying he no longer feels like a "dirty secret" in the England set-up having often been overlooked by former coach Stuart Lancaster.

"I have been involved with England for a long time and this is the first time I have come into that camp and felt confident, felt respected and felt like I was value to the squad," he added.

"You want to feel like you are respected and all the hard work you have put in is noticed. It is not one rule for one and one rule for someone else.

"In terms of where I was playing and the way I was seen in the last environment it was difficult for me. If you ask them they would probably say differently but I just felt under Stuart that, having played around the world and done what I have done, I was kept out of the way as a bit of a dirty secret.

"There is a reason why I have been around, you can steal one or two caps but you can't steal 67. It is important to know how to get the best out of players."