Six Nations

Ashton set to miss Six Nations after 10-week ban

England winger Chris Ashton is set to miss the Six Nations after being handed a 10-week ban by the European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) for allegedly making contact with the eye area of Ulster centre Luke Marshall.

The Saracens star was cited in the aftermath of Saturday's European Champions Cup clash, which Saracens won 33-17 at Allianz Park, for the incident that took place in the 16th minute.

Ashton pleaded not guilty but, at a hearing in London on Wednesday, the judicial officer found his conduct should have warranted a red card.

The decision means Ashton is not free to play until March 28, although he does have the right to appeal.

The low-end entry point of 12 weeks was selected as the appropriate sanction for Ashton's actions, with one week added as a deterrent and three weeks removed because of his good character and conduct at the hearing.

Ashton has 19 tries in 39 matches for England, but was largely overlooked by former head coach Stuart Lancaster and his last international appearance came in June 2014 against New Zealand in Hamilton.

The 28-year-old's international career appeared set to be revitalised after he was recalled by new coach Eddie Jones for England's Six Nations squad but, unless he successfully appeals, Ashton will be reduced to the role of spectator for the entirety of the tournament.

England start their campaign at Scotland on February 6 and finish with an away match with France on March 19.