Harlequins coach Conor O'Shea insists Joe Marler did not kick Grenoble hooker Arnaud Heguy in the head in Friday's contest.

O'Shea defends Marler's actions

O'Shea defends Marler's actions

The England international, who was making his first appearance since being banned for two weeks after calling Wales' Samson Lee a 'gypsy boy', has again found himself in the spotlight after an incident in the European Challenge Cup semi-final.

In the 26th minute, the 25-year-old from Eastbourne appeared to kick Heguy in the head off-the-ball and the rugby authorities have been alerted to what happened.

A decision will now be made in the next 48 hours by citing commissioner Iain Goodall to whether the prop, whose place in the Red Rose squad could be at risk, should be suspended.

However, O'Shea, who will take over as Italy coach at the end of the season, has defended Marler and believes there is far too much attention being placed on what happened.

"It was not a boot, it was nowhere near a boot - it was a shin," he said. "Any test for a citing has to pass the red-card test. Should he do it? No. Is it a red card? No.

"It's disappointing to have to talk about it because I thought his scrummaging was excellent, but he is under the microscope. Things happen, we never condone it but if that is a red card there's a heck of a lot of things that happen on the pitch that are worse."

Quins ended up picking up a comfortable 30-6 victory to reach their fourth European Challenge Cup final and will now face either Montpellier or Newport Gwent Dragons in Lyon on May 13.