Saracens winger Ashton gets 13-week ban for biting

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Saracen’s Chris Ashton is tackled by Northampton’s Dylan Hartleyduring the Aviva Premiership final match between Northampton Saints and Saracens at Twickenham Stadium.

Saracen’s Chris Ashton is tackled by Northampton’s Dylan Hartleyduring the Aviva Premiership final match between Northampton Saints and Saracens at Twickenham Stadium. (Photo: Phil Hutchinson)

LONDON (AP) — An international recall for winger Chris Ashton was considered remote after he was banned for 13 weeks for biting by the English Rugby Football Union late Tuesday.

Ashton was found guilty of biting Northampton prop Alex Waller on the arm while playing for Saracens last Saturday in the Premiership. A second charge of biting, a minute later in the match, was dismissed.

A minimum 12-week ban was enforced, and a week added on because Ashton was suspended last January for 10 weeks for making contact with the eye area of Ulster back Luke Marshall during a European Champions Cup game.

"During the course of a ruck, Chris Ashton bit the arm of Alex Waller at a time that Mr. Waller was attempting to clear him out," Philip Evans, chairman of the RFU disciplinary panel, said in a statement. "The panel concluded it was a low-end entry point aggravated by his previous record."

Ashton was not free to play rugby again until Dec. 19. He can appeal.

Capped 39 times, he hasn't played for England since mid-2014.

He was in the Six Nations squad this year but dropped after the eye-raking ban. He wasn't picked for the mid-year tour of Australia, and spurned the Saxons' trip to South Africa.

He wasn't expected to be picked in the first elite squad of the season next week and, unlike England captain Dylan Hartley, who has a longer rap sheet, Ashton was no longer considered among the best players in his position in the country.

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