Cueto banned by Sale
Sharks winger will miss the rest of Premiership season
Last Updated: 09/04/11 1:08pm
Cueto: facing a hearing on Monday
England wing Mark Cueto has been handed a six-week ban by his club Sale Sharks.
The punishment follows his citing for making contact with the eye or eye area of Northampton lock Christian Day during an Aviva Premiership game last week.
Cueto is due to face a Rugby Football Union disciplinary hearing on Monday following the incident in last Saturday's clash at Franklin's Gardens.
Given that Sale have no chance of making the Premiership title play-offs, the suspension means that the winger will not play for his club again this season.
Cueto, who was pivotal during England's recent Six Nations title-winning campaign, did not play in Friday night's win over Gloucester.
His replacement Paul Williams scored two tries during the 36-31 victory at Edgeley Park.
If found guilty, Cueto could receive anything from a 12-week ban up to the maximum sanction of a three-year punishment from the RFU.
Any long-term absence from the game would seriously damage his hopes of representing England in the World Cup, which kicks off in just five months' time.
The sport's disciplinarians have repeatedly vowed to crack down on gouging, an offence that saw Cueto's current England team-mate Dylan Hartley banned for six-months in 2007.
"Mark let the club and his team-mates down, and he is very upset that he has done so. He will present himself at the disciplinary hearing on Monday evening, and hopefully he will learn from his actions."
Steve Diamond Quotes of the week
And Sale's hard hard-line stance suggests that he may be in for a torrid time when he goes in front of disciplinary chiefs in Haydock on Monday evening.
Announcing his club suspension, Sale executive director of sport Steve Diamond said a decision had been made following discussions between club owner Brian Kennedy and the coaching staff.
Diamond said: "I have spoken to owner Brian Kennedy and the coaching staff, and we decided on this action.
"Mark let the club and his team-mates down, and he is very upset that he has done so.
"He will present himself at the disciplinary hearing on Monday evening, and hopefully he will learn from his actions."