- Ashton banned until 16 October
- Tarus free to play immediately
Chris Ashton appeared before an independent disciplinary panel on Thursday.
He was shown a red card by referee Roman Poite in the 46th minute of the pre-season fixture between Castres Olympique and Sale Sharks on Friday 17 August 2018. This was for a tip tackle on Rory Kockott contrary to law 9.18 (A player must not lift an opponent off the ground and drop or drive that player so that their head and/or upper body make contact with the ground).
Ashton did not accept the charge but the independent panel comprising Richard Whittam QC (chair) with Becky Essex and Mitchell Read found him guilty. Ashton was given a seven week suspension. He is free to play again on 16 October 2018.
"It is an important principle of rugby regulation to prevent injury to others," said Independent panel chair Richard Whittam QC.
"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. 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."
Also today, Alexandru Tarus of Sale Sharks appeared before an independent disciplinary panel. He was shown a red card by referee Roman Poite in the 73rd minute of the same match. This was for dangerous play in a ruck contrary to law 9.20.
Tarus denied the charge. The panel comprising Richard Whittam QC, (chair), with Becky Essex and Mitchell Read decided that while there was an act of foul play it did not meet the red card threshold and so the red card should be removed from the player's record with a yellow card instated instead. The player is therefore free to play again immediately.
For background detail on panel members please click here.
For the NEW 2018/2019 sanctions table effective from 1 August 2018 (RFU Regulation 19 Appendix 2) please click here.