Saracens winger Chris Ashton is set to miss the entirety of England's Six Nations campaign after losing his appeal against a 10-week ban for gouging. The 28-year-old was widely expected to feature for England in their Six Nations opener against Scotland on 6 February, but was banned after making contact with the eyes of Ulster's Luke Marshall.
The incident occurred in the first half of a European Champions Cup match on 16 January. Ashton's appeal against his ban – which has extended his two-year absence from international rugby – was thrown out after the judicial officer considered it to be an offence worthy of a red card.
In January, new England coach Eddie Jones admitted he was disappointed that he would be without Ashton for the upcoming tournament. "He's been one of the form players in the Premiership so this is very disappointing for him and a setback for the team. But we move on," he said, according to The Mirror.
Ashton will be free to play again on 28 March, meaning he will miss the whole of the Six Nations campaign, which finishes on March 19. The England coach has instead opted to select Anthony Watson and Jack Nowell on the wings for the game against Scotland, as he looks to get off to a winning start.
Ashton is a veteran of 39 international appearances, having made his England debut in 2010. However, he lost his place in the national squad under the previous coach Stuart Lancaster, who was replaced by Jones following England's underwhelming performance at the 2015 World Cup.