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Chris Ashton banned for seven weeks for tip tackle

Ashton to miss opening six rounds of new Premiership season with ban running to October 9; Winger receives extra week's suspension due to "poor disciplinary record"

Chris Ashton has not played international rugby since 2014 but he was named in a 44-man England squad earlier this month
Image: Chris Ashton has been banned for seven weeks

Chris Ashton has been banned for seven weeks for the tip tackle which earned him a red card in Sale's pre-season friendly against Castres.

The tackle was on Castres' Rory Kockott during Sale's 20-17 win in Toulouse and contravened law 9.18 and while England wing Ashton did not accept the charge, he was found guilty by an independent panel.

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Ashton was sent off against Castres on August 17.

Ashton, who joined Sale this summer from Toulon and was part of England's pre-season training squad, will now miss the opening six rounds of the Gallagher Premiership season and will not be able to play again until October 9.

The winger was handed an extra week's suspension due to his "poor disciplinary record".

"It is an important principle of rugby regulation to prevent injury to others," said independent panel chair Richard Whittam QC.

"Provocation is not a defence to foul play and lifting a player and dropping that player such that his head makes contact with the ground has the potential to cause serious injury. While in this case the panel accepts no injury was caused, it still amounted to foul play that clearly met the red card threshold.

Chris Ashton
Image: Ashton joined Sale in the summer after a season with Toulon

"The absence of injury and that the action was as a result of a level of provocation, meant that the panel found this was a low-end entry point.

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"Mr Ashton's poor disciplinary record was an aggravating feature and the panel added one week to reflect that. The panel considered at length the prescriptive list of factors in relation to mitigation, but none were sufficient to reduce the length of the sanction."

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