Monday, 18 January 2016

Re-Splash?

I watched Saracens get back to their clinical best vs Ulster on TV on Saturday and one player I paid some attention to was winger Chris Ashton, this week restored to the England squad.

A few years ago I think I described Ashton as having transformed the way England played rugby, such was his initial try-scoring impact in tracking the ball carrier.

Since then, however, his limitations - particularly in defence - have been exposed too often, resulting in his demotion from Stuart Lancaster's England squad.

And now he's back - although on yesterday's evidence it's difficult to see why.

There's still something about Ashton's game that looks as if it has been manufactured rather than evolved naturally and to me he is simply isn't a good enough footballer to be a consistent success at international level.

Admittedly his kick-chase game has improved, and he continues to run clever support lines - but his work under the high ball remains suspect, his defensive positioning is somewhat random, his kicking game is rudimentary, he gets turned over far too easily and he is neither particularly pacey or elusive in attack.

Apart form that he's brilliant.

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