Leicester set to contest red card which could rule Chris Ashton out against Sale

Leicester are ready to contest Chris Ashton’s red card that could rule him out of Tigers’ Gallagher Premiership play-off clash against Sale.

The 36-year-old former England wing was sent off for a high tackle on Harlequins’ Cadan Murley during Leicester’s 20-17 defeat three days ago.

Ashton, the Premiership’s record try-scorer, will retire at the end of this season, but he could now be banned by disciplinary chiefs.

If Ashton is suspended then his hopes of featuring in the play-off – and possibly the Premiership final on May 27 – will be over.

“When we get the date of the hearing, which I would have thought would be Wednesday, we will contest it,” Leicester boss Richard Wigglesworth said.

“It will be this week and if we get it turned around he will be available (for the play-off).

“The slipping and the dipping, there were mitigating factors in the tackle and the mitigating factors are why we think it is a yellow (card) and not a red.

Richard Wigglesworth
Leicester boss Richard Wigglesworth (pictured) says they will contest Chris Ashton’s red card (Brian Lawless/PA)

“I am not calling anything dodgy. I know they have got a difficult job. We just want everything to be clear and obvious.

“If it is a high level of force and danger, then the red card is there to protect players. They have got to get it right, that is their job.

“We have got to get our tactics right, the players have got to get themselves right and they have got to get those decisions right.”

Wigglesworth would have no problem, given the time-frame, regarding Ashton’s readiness to face Sale on Sunday if he received a green light.

“Chris will know his stuff and be good to go,” Wigglesworth added.

“He is experienced and he will still have a training day knowing he is in the starting team, if that happens, so that wouldn’t be a problem for us.”

Premiership champions Leicester face a team that finished one place and 10 points above them across the 20-game regular season.

Saracens meet Northampton in the other play-off, meaning a repeat of last year’s final between Leicester and Saracens is possible.