Chris Ashton handed six-week ban

Chris Ashton was sent-off in the 50th minute during the game against Northampton Saints
Chris Ashton was sent-off in the 50th minute during the game against Northampton Saints

Worcester Warriors wing Chris Ashton has been handed a six-week ban following his red-card incident against Northampton Saints in the recently concluded Gallagher Premiership clash.

Ashton was sent-off in the 50th minute during the game at Sixways for a no-arms tackle on Northampton Saints full-back Tommy Freeman in a ruck and his absence hampered Worcester in the game as they succumbed to a 14-62 defeat.

The 34-year-old faced an independent disciplinary hearing and contested against the charges but the panel deemed the red-card decision by the referee was warranted and handed him a six week ban.

Considering his poor disciplinary record that includes a 13-week ban for biting an opponent in 2016 and a seven week ban for an illegal tip-tackle in 2018, he was handed a limited mitigation.

“The player accepted that he had committed an act of foul play but challenged the red card on the basis that he had not made direct contact to the head of his opponent,” read a statement from the panel.

“Any player choosing to contest a red card must prove on the balance of probabilities that the referee’s decision to award a red card was wrong.

“The panel took account of all the evidence with which it had been provided and could not be satisfied that the referee’s decision had been wrong.

“The referee had concluded that the player had committed an act of dangerous play in a ruck or maul that passed the red card threshold, which involved contact to the head/neck area. Such an offence carries with it a minimum mid-range entry point of six weeks.

“The player does not have a good disciplinary record and the panel increased the sanction by one week to take account of this aggravating factor. The player had not accepted the charge.

“There was some limited mitigation present, including on account of the positive way in which the player engaged with the hearing.

“The panel concluded that a reduction to the entry point of one week on account of the mitigation that was present was proportionate in all the circumstances of the case. The player is therefore suspended for a period of six weeks.”

Ashton will be free to resume playing from 4th June.