Saracens and England winger Chris Ashton has been handed a 13-week ban after being found guilty of biting Northampton prop Alex Waller.
After a six-hour hearing, a disciplinary panel found Ashton bit Waller during Saracens’ 27-12 Premiership victory at Allianz Park on Saturday.
The panel looked at two counts but dismissed the second charge.
Ashton, 29, who denied the offences, can play again on 19 December.
Chairman of the panel Philip Evans QC said: “Having considered detailed evidence, the panel concluded that 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.
“The panel concluded it was a low-end entry point aggravated by his previous record.”
Ashton was banned for 10 weeks last season for gouging.
The minimum ban for a guilty verdict was 12 weeks, with the higher end of the offence carrying a punishment of up to 208 weeks.
The ban puts a further dent in his hopes of resurrecting his England career.
Ashton has been capped 39 times by England and was in coach Eddie Jones’ Six Nations squad this year.
However, he was ruled out of the tournament after failing to overturn the 10-week ban for making contact with the eyes of Ulster’s Luke Marshall in a European Champions Cup match.
He was then left out of the squad which toured Australia in the summer. His last England cap came in the summer of 2014, against New Zealand.
Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/37424295