Widnes forward Gareth Hock has been hit with a four-match ban for making deliberate contact with a referee.

The charge relates to the England international’s actions at the weekend, when Hock came into contact with George Stokes during the Vikings’ 36-0 win over Workington in the Tetley's Challenge Cup fifth round.

It’s the second time the player, currently on a season-long loan at the Halton Stadium from Wigan, has been hit with a ban for such an incident. Hock was given a five-game suspension for manhandling official Ian Smith back in 2008 whilst playing for the Warriors.

Hock appeared in-front of the RFL disciplinary committee via Skype on Tuesday night, and was charged with the Grade D offence.

The 29-year-old will miss Super League matches against Huddersfield Giants, Salford City Reds, Catalan Dragons and Wigan – although he was ineligible for the clash with the Warriors anyway due to a clause in his loan agreement.

Hock will return in-time for England’s clash against the Exiles on June 14th however, with the controversial forward already named in Steve McNamara’s 30-man squad.

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