Saracens wing Chris Ashton has been handed a 13-week suspension after being found guilty of one charge of biting at a protracted Rugby Football Union disciplinary hearing in London.
The 29-year-old England hopeful was cited for allegedly biting Northampton Saints prop Alex Waller on two separate occasions during Sarries’ 27-12 victory over their rivals on Saturday.
While he contested both counts and the independent panel dismissed the second charge, Ashton was found guilty of the first offence, to which the sanction relates. He is free to play again on 19 December, meaning he will miss seven Premiership and four European Champions Cup fixtures.
“Having considered detailed evidence the panel concluded that during the course of a ruck, Chris Ashton bit the arm of Alex Waller at a time that Mr Waller was attempting to clear him out,” said panel chairman Philip Evans QC. “The panel concluded it was a low-end entry point aggravated by his previous record.”
Ashton, who last played for England in the summer of 2014, missed this year’s Six Nations after being handed a 10-week ban for making contact with an opponent’s eye. The ban will end any hope Ashton had of featuring in the autumn internationals.