Rugby: Ashton hit with four week ban for pulling hair

Chris Ashton in action for England at the World Cup. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Chris Ashton in action for England at the World Cup. Photo / Brett Phibbs

England's Chris Ashton was banned for four weeks from all rugby on Tuesday for pulling the hair of Leicester's Alesana Tuilagi during Northampton's Premiership defeat by the Tigers on Saturday.

Ashton, who was punished by a disciplinary panel for "acts contrary to good sportsmanship,'' will be free to play again on January 4 - a month before England begin the defence of their Six Nations title.

The incident took place in the first half of a fiery East Midlands derby won 30-25 by Leicester at their Welford Road home and sparked a touchline brawl.

Tuilagi and Saints flanker Tom Wood were both sent off and they were due to face disciplinary proceedings later Tuesday.

Ashton will miss Northampton's back-to-back European Cup fixtures against Castres and two Premiership games over the festive period.

This is not the first time in recent months that Ashton has been involved in unwanted publicity, having been involved in England's infamous night out during the World Cup in Queenstown.

- AFP

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