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Chris Ashton red card overturned

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Post by Rugby Fan Fri May 12, 2023 1:23 am

Chris Ashton's red card has been overturned, so he is available for selection at the weekend. The panel decided the offence warranted a yellow. The tackled player, Cadan Murley, did Ashton a solid, and testified to where Ashton hit him, and with what force, which gave the panel the excuse they needed.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/rugby-union/2023/05/11/chris-ashton-premiership-honour-red-card-hearing/

From a sentimental point of view, it's good that Ashton is free to play. It's hard not to think the panel had the circumstances of his retirement in mind when they made the decision. You also wonder whether Murley would have supported Ashton in the way he did if his own season hadn't already finished, and he knew he could influence whether Ashton got to end his career on a better note. Everybody seems to have "read the room".

And yet, this just further highlights the infuriating inconsistency in the Premiership. Ashton's red was fairly clear by the standards across the season. Although disciplinary panels have been overturning red cards at a rate of knots lately, this one probably fell on the side of a card which was warranted. Put simply, if that wasn't a red card incident, then a whole host of players were unfairly banned across the season. It would almost be better if the panel had just come out and said they had "given weight to the circumstances of Mr. Ashton's career".

The Premiership didn't cover itself in glory over the delay in convening a panel. With knock-out matches looming, any player potentially featuring at the weekend needed to be processed quickly. However, the Premiership claimed the earliest day available was Thursday. There seems to have been a comedy of errors, where the Premiership assumed Ashton was going to attend the season's awards dinner on Wednesday (presumably, Murley went). It turns out, Ashton had stood down from the dinner, to be available for proceedings.

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Post by doctor_grey Fri May 12, 2023 3:13 am

Great post mate. I agree on all points.

The Telegraph wrote:Having assessed all the evidence before it, including that of Mr Murley (who told the panel that the initial contact was to his right shoulder, following which the tackle rode up to his neck area, but that any force to his neck was minimal), the panel concluded that there was indirect contact to the head and that any force to the head/neck was low.
Murley did indeed do Ashton a favour. I just went back and watched the incident again and after the contact Murley was on his knee rubbing his neck and cheek looking as if he took some down-home contact. So good on Murley.

But you're right, the inconsistencies appear quite stark and seem to me to be getting worse. The RFU doesn't make things better by insisting on one standard in the games then overturning them. In the referees defense, it seemed to me that was a red by the recent standards.

Besides it's great Ashton has two games left in his career, the first a win, the second against Saints....

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Post by formerly known as Sam Fri May 12, 2023 10:27 am

It wasn't a quick thing, the hearing took five hours and as well as the testimony from Murley and Ashton featured a number of additional camera angles that Tempest and the TMO didn't have on the day.

It looked a straightforward red card on the day but the combination of Murley's statement plus a new camera angle must have swung it in Ashton's favour.

Not sure he'll make the squads for the next two games unless there's injuries as the back three would be Potter, Watson, Steward if all fit and available.

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Post by RiscaGame Fri May 12, 2023 3:33 pm

I saw a post yesterday about the five hours to decide Ashton's fate, yet a ref has to make a decision a lot sooner than that. Madness really.

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