England and Sale winger Chris Ashton may miss the first three games of the Premiership season after punching an opponent in a friendly. The 31-year-old, who was recalled to the England fold after a four-year absence in August, punched Castres’ Rory Kockott in a pre-season match on Friday.
Both players were sent off by referee Romain Poite, who is set to deliver his report to the RFU on Monday, after the incident early in the second half of Sale’s 20-17 win.
Suspensions for punches to the head usually start at four weeks – meaning Ashton could be banned for the first three games of the new Premiership campaign.
Sale begin their league season on September 1 against Harlequins at the Twickenham Stoop, before fixtures against Worcester and Exeter.
The winger was playing in only his second game for the Sharks, having joined from Toulon in the summer.
In 2016 Ashton was banned for 13 weeks after being found guilty of biting Northampton prop Alex Waller.