Chris Ashton banned for seven weeks following red card for tip tackle

Chris Ashton trains during England's pre-season training camp in Teddington, London. David Rogers/Getty Images

Chris Ashton has been banned for seven weeks after his red card in Sale Sharks' pre-season friendly against Castres.

The 31-year-old was only in his second game since joining from Toulon in July, but received the red for a dangerous tip tackle.

Ashton did not accept the charge for the tackle on Castres scrum-half Rory Kockott in a pre-season friendly. He will now miss the first six rounds of the new season, putting him out until October

A "poor disciplinary record" also went against Ashton, who had an extra week added on to the suspension due to this.

His previous suspensions include a 13-week ban for biting and a 10-week suspension for eye gouging.

"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."

In a double blow for Ashton, he will also miss England's next training camp in Bristol, despite being named in Eddie Jones' squad.