Chris Ashton says he is “incredibly disappointed” after an independent appeal committee decided not to allow an appeal against a 10-week suspension that means he cannot play again until late March.
European Professional Club Rugby announced the committee’s decision, and Saracens wing Ashton’s hopes of playing for England in the RBS 6 Nations Championship this season are now over.
Ashton was banned after being cited for making contact with an opponent’s eye during a European Champions Cup match between Saracens and Ulster last month. Ashton will be free to play again on March 28.
In a statement released by Saracens, Ashton said: “I am incredibly disappointed with today’s decision, but I now plan to look ahead to the rest of the season and work as hard as I can during my ban.
“I would like to thank Saracens and my legal team for all their hard work and support throughout this. “I vehemently maintain that I have never made an attempt to intentionally make contact with the eye area of any other player.
“To miss out on the chance to represent my country and Saracens during this period is extremely disappointing, but the judgement stands and it is one that I will respect and accept.”