WORCESTER Warriors Chris Ashton has been handed a six-week suspension following his red card against Northampton Saints last weekend.

Ashton was shown a red card by referee Andrew Jackson in the 49th minute of the match Worcester Warriors v Northampton Saints on Saturday 27 March 2021. This was for dangerous play in a ruck or maul contrary to World Rugby Law 9.20a

Ashton contested the charge but it was upheld by the independent disciplinary panel comprising Gareth Graham (chair) with Sean Enright and Tony Wheat, which gave him a six week suspension. He is free to play again on 1 June 2021.

The Independent panel statement read- Ashton: "The player accepted that he had committed an act of foul play but challenged the red card on the basis that he had not made direct contact to the head of his opponent.

"Any player choosing to contest a red card must prove on the balance of probabilities that the referee’s decision to award a red card was wrong.

"The panel took account of all the evidence with which it had been provided and could not be satisfied that the referee’s decision had been wrong.

"The referee had concluded that the player had committed an act of dangerous play in a ruck or maul that passed the red card threshold, which involved contact to the head/neck area.

"Such an offence carries with it a minimum mid-range entry point of six weeks.

"The player does not have a good disciplinary record and the panel increased the sanction by one week to take account of this aggravating factor.

"The player had not accepted the charge but there was some limited mitigation present, including on account of the positive way in which the player engaged with the hearing.

"The panel concluded that a reduction to the entry point of one week on account of the mitigation that was present was proportionate in all the circumstances of the case. The player is therefore suspended for a period of six weeks.”

This means Ashton will miss the next five games for Worcester, including away trips to Harlequins, Exeter and Wasps and home games against Sale and Leicester.