England will have forwards Joe Marler and George Kruis available for the summer tour to Australia after both players avoided significant punishment in their respective disciplinary hearings. Marler has been found guilty of misconduct by World Rugby after calling Wales' Samson Lee a "gypsy boy" during the Six Nations match at Twickenham and banned for two matches, while Kruis has avoided sanction after being cleared of biting fellow international David Wilson.
Marler has also been fined £20,000 – which must be paid to a UK equality charity – with rugby's world governing body having set up an independent committee after the Harlequins forward had been cleared of wrongdoing by the Six Nations organisers. The 25-year-old was handed a reduced penalty after apologising to Lee, who is from the traveller community, both at half-time in the 25-21 win at Twickenham in March and subsequently in a lengthy statement on the eve of the hearing.
World Rugby found the England prop had "used unsporting and discriminatory language towards Lee [and] that by his actions, Marler had breached World Rugby Regulation 20 and the code of conduct and brought the game into disrepute".
The ban will see Marler miss the European Challenge Cup clash with London Irish on Saturday [9 April] and the top-flight meeting with Saracens on 16 April, but will be available for the sharp end of the campaign. Quins are currently sixth in the Premiership and remain in contention for a play-off spot.
Kruis, 26, will be free to continue his run in the England team under Eddie Jones this summer after being cleared of biting Bath's Wilson – who himself was absolved of blame for allegedly making contact with the eyes of eye area – during the Premiership match on 1 April. The pair were cited following an incident in the second half of Saracens' 30-10 win at the Recreation Ground.
Saracens forwards coach Alex Sanderson had labelled the initial citing as "a travesty", but will be relieved to have the lock available for the twilight of the campaign after he was cleared by the Rugby Football Union. The news is also a boost for England head coach Jones, who will have both forwards, who played a key role in the team's grand slam and Six Nations success, available for May's test against Wales, which works as preparation for the three-match series against Australia in June.