Combustible Harlequins forward Kyle Sinckler is in danger of being ruled out of England’s autumn internationals after being cited for gouging Northampton lock Michael Paterson during Saturday’s clash at Franklin’s Gardens.
Sinckler has been charged with making contact with the eye and/or eye area by independent citing commissioner Chris Catling and will appear before a Rugby Football Union disciplinary hearing in Bristol on Tuesday evening.
During the match Sinckler was punished only for removing Paterson’s scrum cap. He received an on-field warning and conceded a penalty after the incident was reviewed by the television match official.
The entry-level sanction for making contact with the eye is a 12-week suspension, which would end the tighthead prop’s availability for England’s autumn programme.
Eddie Jones’ side play Argentina at Twickenham on Saturday 11 November and then face showdowns with Australia and Samoa during the subsequent fortnight.
Then-Saracens wing Chris Ashton was ruled out of the 2016 Six Nations after being slapped with a 10-week ban for making contact with the eyes of Ulster centre Luke Marshall during a European Champions Cup match.
Sinckler has endured a turbulent few months, having been something of a surprise selection for the British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand during the summer, where he featured in all three Test matches.
The 23-year-old was arrested during a night out in Auckland following the conclusion of the tour, while he was one of four Lions omitted from England’s latest training squad by Jones.
Northampton claimed victory in the clash during which Sinckler was cited, winning 30-22 as the Saints claimed their fourth successive triumph to move to the top of the Premiership.