Andrew Baldock, PA Rugby Union Correspondent
Harlequins and England prop Joe Marler has been charged for comments made towards Bristol flanker Jake Heenan.
The Rugby Football Union said Marler had been charged under the governing body’s rule 5.12 – conduct prejudicial to the game.
Marler’s comments during the first half of Tuesday’s Gallagher Premiership match reportedly related to Heenan’s mother.
Marler will face a disciplinary hearing on Friday afternoon.
The RFU said: “Joe Marler, Harlequins, has been charged under RFU rule 5.12 for conduct prejudicial to the game for comments made to a Bristol Bears player during the match on Tuesday 27 December.
“The hearing will take place at 4.30pm today, Friday 30 December.”
A lengthy ban could result from the 32-year-old’s latest brush with rugby’s authorities.
In 2016, Marler 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.
Speaking immediately after the Quins encounter, Bristol rugby director Pat Lam said: “I brought Jake over from New Zealand to Connacht and to Bristol. He is like a son to our family and I have never seen him like that.
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“It’s best to say one of the areas we are all trying to work on is the spirit of the game. I love Joe Marler, but something was said and there was a reaction from Jake I have never seen before.
“We are all custodians of the game – players, coaches – and one thing we all value and we all work hard to keep is the right values and spirit. Jake reacted to something that was said.”
Marler, meanwhile, has been named on the replacements’ bench for Quins’ Premiership clash against Northampton on Sunday, with Fin Baxter taking over in the starting line-up.