ENGLAND World Cup hopeful Manu Tuilagi looks likely to miss the English Premiership final with Saracens after a “thuggishness” attack on Northampton winger Chris Ashton.
The 19-year-old Leicester Tiger winger viciously punched Ashton three times during their 11-3 victory over Leinster’s Heineken Cup final opponents but, after advice from his touch judge Robin Goodliffe, referee Wayne Barnes issued each with a yellow card.
“Both players, 13 Leicester and 14, Northampton, threw punches at each other and both connected,” Goodliffe advised Barnes who had been following the play.
Saints boss Jim Mallinder believed the decision was baffling and called for a review of the refereeing systems in place, particularly following Peter Allan’s mistake in Ireland’s loss to Wales in the Six Nations.
“Chris Ashton did go over and give him a push, but you cannot react with three punches to the head without a red card,” he said. “I think the referee did go to his assistant. All I know is I have seen it and to me, it is a clear red card.”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved