Sale star Chris Ashton banned for seven weeks for dangerous tip tackle against Castres

CHRIS ASHTON has been banned for seven weeks for his dangerous tip tackle against Castres.

The Sale and England winger, 31, picked up a red card in only his second match for his new club after joining from Toulon in July.

 Chris Ashton has been banned for seven weeks for a tip tackle against Castres

Reuters
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Chris Ashton has been banned for seven weeks for a tip tackle against Castres

The horror tackle took place during the Sharks' pre-season friendly, with their league campaign not kicking-off until next month.

Ashton will now be out until mid-October for the offence.

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

"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.

 Sale star Chris Ashton launched a punch at Castres scrum half Rory Kockott

YouTube: Top Rugby
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Sale star Chris Ashton launched a punch at Castres scrum half Rory Kockott

"While in this case the panel accepts no injury was caused, it still amounted to foul play that clearly met the red card threshold.

"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.

"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."

 The incident sparked a brawl on the pitch

YouTube: Top Rugby
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The incident sparked a brawl on the pitch

Chris Ashton sent off for punch on opponent in Sale Sharks 'friendly' clash

 Chris Ashton is part of the England setup once again after joining Sale from Toulon

Reuters
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Chris Ashton is part of the England setup once again after joining Sale from Toulon

During the game, Ashton was caught on camera getting into a fracas with Castres No9 Rory Kockott, who was also given his marching orders.

In footage from the game, the pair can be seen locked close to the ground exchanging blows right under the referee's nose.

The 31-year-old was caught at the bottom of a ruck, when Kockott appeared to try and get the ball from under his body for a quick penalty.

Ashton only managed to force his way back into the England fold  under Eddie Jones this month.

Jones picked the winger after he moved back to the Premiership following a two-year stint at French side Toulon.

Ashton was initially part of Jones' first ever Red Rose squad in 2016 before serving bans for biting and eye gouging.

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CHRIS ASHTON has been banned for seven weeks for his dangerous tip tackle against Castres.