Six Nations: Dismay for Chris Ashton after appeal against 10-game ban is rejected

Chris Ashton says he is 'incredibly disappointed' after an independent appeal committee decided not to allow an appeal against a 10-week suspension that means he cannot play again until late March.
Saracens winger Chris Ashton.Saracens winger Chris Ashton.
Saracens winger Chris Ashton.

European Professional Club Rugby announced the committee’s decision, and Saracens wing Ashton’s hopes of playing for England in the RBS Six Nations Championship this season are now over.

Ashton was banned after being cited for making contact with an opponent’s eye during a European Champions Cup match between Saracens and Ulster last month. Ashton will be free to play again on March 28.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

In a statement released by Saracens, Ashton said: “I am incredibly disappointed with (yesterday’s) decision, but I now plan to look ahead to the rest of the season and work as hard as I can during my ban.

“I would like to thank Saracens and my legal team for all their hard work and support throughout this.

“I vehemently maintain that I have never made an attempt to intentionally make contact with the eye area of any other player.

“To miss out on the chance to represent my country and Saracens during this period is extremely disappointing, but the judgment stands and it is one that I will respect and accept.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Ashton pulled Marshall to the ground with his left arm in the first half of the game, while also grabbing the Ireland international’s face with his right hand. The judicial officer viewed the tackle as a red-card offence that exposed Marshall to the risk of serious injury, but Saracens contended that 10 weeks was too severe a punishment.

Saracens’ rugby director Mark McCall added: “The club has been fully supportive of Chris throughout this process and wanted to ensure that everything possible was done to support his case. Saracens and Chris are disappointed by the ramifications of the news, but we have to accept this decision.”

Ashton’s impressive club form had put him on track for a Test recall this term, with England opening their Six Nations campaign against Scotland at Murrayfield tomorrow.

The 28-year-old has not represented England since June 2014, having scored 19 tries in 39 Tests.

Related topics: