Rugby: Kiwi sports lawyer believes Joe Marler incident could set new benchmark

World Rugby is being urged to act after cameras caught the moment Welsh captain Alun Wyn Jones was grabbed by the genitals by England prop Joe Marler in this morning's Six Nations encounter at Twickenham.

Some have passed off the incident as nothing more than friendly banter but experts say a judiciary's unlikely to see it that way if they're asked to take a closer look.

"You know, it's funny, if I react I get a red card," Wyn Jones said. "So it's tough, isn't it?  Hopefully, World Rugby will take a look at it."

Rugby fans and critics certainly have, and it's divided opinion.

"That would never have happened in my day because if it had, I would never have retired," former Welsh winger Gareth Thomas said.

But Kiwi sports lawyer Aaron Lloyd - who represents hundreds of professional players facing the judiciary - sees it differently.

"If this happened off the rugby field people would be talking about sexual assault or indecent assault," Lloyd told Newshub.

According to World Rugby regulations, the sanction for grabbing, twisting or squeezing the genitals starts at 12 weeks through to a maximum of 208 weeks, or four years.

While Kiwi referee Ben O'Keeffe and his assistant missed the incident, Marler's sure to be cited.

"What will be interesting here is whether the judiciary decides it's time to set a new benchmark for this kind of behaviour," Lloyd told Newshub.

"Grabbing someone's genitals is just utterly unacceptable."

Wyn Jones described Marler as a "good bloke", but called on World Rugby to act

"There's a lot of footage that has been shown obviously," he said.

"It's just very frustrating that we talk a lot about TMOs and footage review and there doesn't seem to be a lot of it happening."

The judiciary is expected to make a statement if Marler's asked to front-up to defend an inexplicable act.