London - Saracens wing Chris Ashton is set to find out whether his hoped for return to England duty will be scuppered by a ban when he appears before a disciplinary hearing on Wednesday.
Ashton has been cited for allegedly making contact with the "eye(s) and/or eye area" of Ulster centre Luke Marshall during Saracens' 33-17 European Champions Cup home win over the Irish province on Saturday.
It is one of the more serious offences in rugby's rulebook and Ashton, who won the last of his 39 England caps more than 18 months ago, faces a ban of 12 weeks or more if found guilty.
That would rule the 28-year-old out of the whole of the Six Nations, with England opening the Championship away to Scotland in Edinburgh on February 6 in what will be Australian Eddie Jones's first game in charge of the Red Rose brigade.
Former rugby league star Ashton has scored 19 tries in 39 Tests for England.
But there have been question marks over his defence and he was omitted from the squad chosen by former England coach Stuart Lancaster for last year's World Cup, where the hosts suffered an embarrassing first-round exit after pool-stage defeats by both Wales and Australia.