Following the heavy suspension of Fijian Josaia Raisuqe last week for an alleged eyegouge when making contact with the face of an opposition player, Saracens winger Chris Ashton may count himself lucky to have only been penalised for this incident against Ulster at the weekend.
While it looked completely innocuous at first, players cannot grab other players by the head and drag them to the floor. This has been a hot topic in the last year, with ‘neck rolls’ in particular being heavily policed at the Rugby World Cup.
Regardless of possible neck damage, there is also the chance that contact might have been made with the eyes, especially after Marshall got up with his hands on his face to indicate so.
Referee Jerome Garces checked with his TMO, but found nothing.
He still wasn’t happy with the way Ashton ripped Marshall to the ground though.
“Nothing clear and dangerous for me about the finger in the eyes,” said Garces, before explaining that Ashton should still be penalised for the way he cleared out the Ulster centre.
Last week Raisuque was banned for 15 weeks for making contact with the eyes.
Do you think this was comparable to the Raisuque incident, or was the penalty sufficient?
UPDATE: Chris Ashton has been banned for 10 weeks. He will miss the Six Nations.
credit: Ian Cameron