Northampton Saints won’t appeal Ashton ban

Aviva Premiership Rugby club Northampton Saints announced on Friday that they would not be appealing against Chris Ashton’s four-match ban.

England wing Ashton was suspended for unsportsmanlike conduct after being found guilty of dragging Leicester’s Alesana Tuilagi off the field by his hair.

The first half incident sparked a touchline brawl at Welford Road, Leicester’s home ground, and saw both Tuilagi and Northampton forward Tom Wood sent off.

Leicester eventually won a fiery East Midlands derby 30-25.

Northampton remain unhappy with the severity of Ashton’s ban but have decided no useful purpose would be served by lodging an appeal.

“Following considerable deliberation, the Northampton Saints team management has decided not to appeal against the sanction imposed upon Chris Ashton.

“Although the management still believes the sanction was harsh, and imposed because of what happened afterwards rather than the action offence itself – something Judge Jeff Blackett noted in his own comments on Tuesday evening – the management also believes that it is best that a line is now drawn under the incident.

“Chris himself is determined to use this as a learning experience and to work hard over the next four weeks to become a better player for Northampton Saints and hopefully earn selection in England’s Six Nations squad in the new year.”

Ashton will miss Northampton’s back-to-back European Cup fixtures against Castres, the Christmas Eve Premiership clash with Bath and the New Year’s Day trip to Newcastle.

He will be available for Northampton again in time for the Premiership game against Harlequins on January 6.

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