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RUGBY | 6 NATIONS

England winger loses ban appeal

Saracens winger Chris Ashton saw his England Six Nations hopes disappear Thursday after he was denied an appeal against a 10-week ban.

England winger loses ban appeal

With the Six Nations championship about to kick-off, Saracens winger Chris Ashton will have to accept watching it from the sidelines after he was denied an appeal against a 10-week ban.

"An independent appeal committee has announced its decision not to allow an appeal by the Saracens player, Chris Ashton, against the 10-week suspension imposed on him," European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) said in a statement.

Ashton, 28, appealed after being banned for making contact with the eye area of Luke Marshall in Saracens' home European Champions Cup victory over Ulster on January 16.

The match's judicial officer viewed Ashton's tackle as a red-card offence that exposed Marshall to the risk of serious injury, but Saracens contended that 10 weeks was too severe a punishment for the incident.

The ban came just a week after the explosive winger was recalled to the England squad, 18 months after his last appearance.

England begin their Six Nations campaign away to Scotland at Murrayfield on Saturday.