It’s been ten years since we saw Joe Marler and Marcos Ayerza go at it in the Premiership after a little scuffle that started as nothing then soon turned into sending offs for both.
The front rowers came to blows after it appeared as though Marler pulled on the headgear of the Argentina international.
As was probably to be expected, he wasn’t too thrilled with that and an altercation erupted, with a bit of a headbutt then full-on punches thrown by the Quins man.
It resulted in red cards for both as Wayne Barnes was right on the scene and after consultation with his sideline officials, was clear about his decision.
“I’ve seen two players grappling with each other, and I’ve seen this player (Ayerza) lead with his head into another player’s head. He gets sent off for that,” Barnes explained to captain Craig Newby, before turning to Marler and Nick Easter.
“This player’s involved and he threw numerous punches, including an uppercut, he gets sent off as well.”
The pair later faced an RFU disciplinary hearing resulting in them both being handed two-week suspensions.
It was a fiery clash with a few yellow cards and a serious lack of numbers on the park at one stage. Referee Barnes had sent Will Skinner and Mark Lambert from the field too, albeit temporarily, but that meant Quins were down to 12 at one stage.
Harlequins Director of rugby Conor O’Shea was furious with the officiating afterwards.
“There are a number of talking points. Does Joe feel hard-done by? I know I would be. Should he have reacted that way, probably not. Was the provocation high? Absolutely. But I do want to know why when Tom Williams was tackled off the ball going for the line, there was no penalty try, no yellow card when both should have been 100%,” he said.
Leicester’s Richard Cockerill saw things slightly differently, saying: “That’s rugby. So much happened out there and it was a fractious game at times. Marler was involved in everything. He has a Mohican hairdo dyed orange so he’s difficult to miss.
“It’s up to Quins to deal with him. We look to our own players.”
This past weekend, Harlequins beat Exeter to win the Premiership for the second time.