England head coach Eddie Jones has backed Saracens wing Chris Ashton to rebound from the 10-week ban which has destroyed his hopes of earning an international recall during the Six Nations.
Ashton was suspended from playing until 28 March following an independent disciplinary hearing yesterday, having pleaded not guilty to making contact with the eye of Ulster centre Luke Marshall during Saturday’s European Champions Cup clash.
The 28-year-old, who was the right of appeal, was overlooked for England’s World Cup squad last year, winning the last of his 39 international caps in June 2014 during England’s tour of New Zealand. He had, however, been tipped to make Jones’ maiden starting XV.
“Players have these sorts of setbacks. I’m sure he’s a good enough player to get over it, serve out his time if the suspension happens and then get back into it,” said Australian Jones.
“I’m disappointed for him. Chris is a good player and he’s been in good form. He was so keen to get back into the international fold, so it’s disappointing.”
England begin their Six Nations campaign on 6 February against Scotland at Murrayfield, while their concluding fixture is a trip to face France in Paris on 19 March.