Warren Gatland sorry for saying racist line was banter

Warren Gatland. Photo / AP
Warren Gatland. Photo / AP

Wales head coach Warren Gatland has apologised for any offence his use of the word "banter" may have caused when reflecting on last Sunday's Joe Marler-Samson Lee incident at Twickenham.

Marler is still waiting to discover if his verbal abuse of Wales tighthead Lee during last Sunday's Six Nations clash is to result in any punishment from disciplinary chiefs.

The delay in publishing the findings into the incident during which Marler called Lee "gypsy boy" comes despite the Harlequins loosehead having apologised to his rival at half-time for the comment and England censuring the player and reminding him of his conduct.

"Look, we have no issue. It was just a bit of banter, as far as I am concerned. And that's the way that Samson said it," Galtand said.

"Joe said to him at half-time it was only just a bit of fun, and Samson said he has no issue. It's just banter on the rugby field. Fifteen, 20 years ago, those things were sorted out with fists and stuff."

The Welsh Rugby Union, however, issued a statement on Wednesday, with Gatland stating

"I don't condone racism of any kind. I apologise for any offence my use of the word banter may have caused.

"He believed Joe made his comment in the heat of the moment, he later regretted it and apologised, but Samson believes it wasn't racist in intent and he accepted Joe's apology."

The WRU, meanwhile, said it would welcome a "definitive and speedy" conclusion by the Six Nations to its investigation.

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