Cape Town - England prop Joe Marler is a doubt for the start of the Six Nations after the loosehead was sent-off in Harlequins’ 30-29 defeat to Sale Sharks.
The prop was red carded by referee Matthew Carley for appearing to dip his shoulder into the head of Sale flanker TJ Ioane with the Londoners 22-17 in front.
Quins ended up losing the game and dropping to ninth in the Premiership, six points off the play-off places.
Marler’s participation over the coming weeks is therefore uncertain with a disciplinary panel set to determine his fate next week.
The Six Nations is less than a month away but the loosehead’s club director of rugby John Kingston queried the seriousness of the offence.
“This is not an isolated punch, stamp or kick, it’s a clearout that’s not legal and he’s taken somebody out without his arm,” Kingston said. “It’s a physical game, an awful lot of people do that.
“He will be unbelievably disappointed and upset about the whole thing. Joe was having an unbelievable game as well, that’s the other thing to remark on. His form last week and on Saturday had been absolutely outstanding.
“It’s something that will be dealt with as required, but it clearly had an impact on the game.”