England star Chris Ashton faces six-week ban after ‘tip tackle’ in friendly

Chris Ashton faces minimum six-week ban for ‘tip tackle’ and NOT a punch as new footage brings serious charge and big threat to his England dream

  • Chris Ashton is facing a minimum six-week ban for a ‘tip tackle’ in a friendly
  • Ashton was sent off against Castres but it was not for a punching Rory Kockott
  • It was confirmed he was sent off for the tackle after new footage was released
  • The 31-year-old’s dream of making England’s 2019 World Cup team is in jeopardy
  • Ashton could miss the November Tests if found guilty of a high-level offence

Will Kelleher For Mailonline

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Chris Ashton is facing a charge for a tip tackle – and not a punch as originally thought – meaning he could potentially be hit with a six-week ban and a severe blow to his England ambitions.

The Sale Sharks winger, 31, was sent off in the feisty pre-season friendly match against Castres in France last Friday and faces a disciplinary panel this Thursday.

It had appeared he had punched French scrum-half Rory Kockott in the face, but new footage released on Tuesday shows he had picked up his opponent and dumped him to the turf.

New footage shows Chris Ashton (No 15 in white) making a 'tip tackle' on Rory Kockott

New footage shows Chris Ashton (No 15 in white) making a ‘tip tackle’ on Rory Kockott

It was initially thought Ashton threw a punch, but he was actually sent off for a tip tackle - here he can be seen lifting Kockott off his feet before dumping him to the turf following a ruck

It was initially thought Ashton threw a punch, but he was actually sent off for a tip tackle – here he can be seen lifting Kockott off his feet before dumping him to the turf following a ruck

The offence, punished with a red card by by French referee Romain Poite, has now been confirmed as a tip tackle, leaving Ashton facing a potential minimum ban of six weeks if found guilty.

The minimum punishment for a punch to the head is also a six-week ban after the RFU revealed on Tuesday that they had brought the two offences in line. Previously the ban for a punch was four weeks.   

Ashton can be seen standing over the figure of Kockott, who lies on the turf after the tip tackle 

Ashton can be seen standing over the figure of Kockott, who lies on the turf after the tip tackle 

The two teams got embroiled in a mass brawl after Ashton was dismissed for the tackle

The two teams got embroiled in a mass brawl after Ashton was dismissed for the tackle

WHAT IS A ‘TIP TACKLE’

A spear tackle, also called a ‘tip tackle’, is a tackle in which a player lifts another player into the air and drops them so they land on their back, upper chest, head or neck.

It does not matter if the player drives the other into the ground or not.  The International Rugby Board (IRB) has ruled that a dangerous tackle of this type should be punished with a straight red card.

The revised law removes the possibility of a spearing tackle not being penalised if the tackled player breaks their fall with their arms.

These kind of tackles have caused serious damage in the past, including  spinal damage, dislocations, broken bones in the shoulder or neck, and even death.

In a statement, the RFU said: ‘Ashton 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).’ 

Bans for this act typically start at six weeks for a low-end offence meaning the wing will certainly miss the start of Premiership season if found guilty. But if he is given a longer ban it could impact on his availability for England, whose Autumn internationals start on November 3 against South Africa. 

Ashton wants to make England's 2019 World Cup squad but now may miss November Tests

Ashton wants to make England’s 2019 World Cup squad but now may miss November Tests

ENGLAND FIXTURES ASHTON COULD MISS

November 3: South Africa

November 10: New Zealand

November 17: Japan

November 24: Australia 

He will not be helped by his previous disciplinary record – Ashton was banned for 10 weeks for contact with the eye area of Ulster’s Luke Marshall and for 13 weeks for biting Northampton’s Alex Waller in his last season in England in 2016-17.

Ashton was called into an England training camp earlier this month. He has returned to England to try and make the 2019 World Cup squad having spent a season at Toulon, but England boss Eddie Jones might take a dim view of his latest transgression.

Sale prop Alexandru Tarus also faces a judicial panel charged with dangerous play at a ruck after he was sent off in the same friendly game.

England coach Eddie Jones may have to look elsewhere should Ashton get a long-term ban

England coach Eddie Jones may have to look elsewhere should Ashton get a long-term ban


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