Lancaster: Chris Ashton can pose a threat against Australia

07:00 12 November 2012

Saracens winger Chris Ashton. Photo credit: Andrew Matthews/PA wire

Saracens winger Chris Ashton. Photo credit: Andrew Matthews/PA wire

PA Archive/Press Association Images

England head coach Stuart Lancaster thinks Saracen’s Chris Ashton will be desperate to inflict more misery on Australia after being forced to watch Charlie Sharples shine for England in his self-inflicted absence

Lancaster has been left with a selection poser after Sharples took his opportunity against Fiji with two tries in a 54-12 victory on Saturday.

England scored seven touchdowns in total but Ashton missed out on the chance to break his international duck for 2012 because he was suspended, having collected three yellow cards for dangerous play.

But Ashton, who has scored three tries in three Tests against Australia, is available as England go in search of a third consecutive win against the Wallabies.

Everything points to his immediate return to the side, with Sharples and Ugo Monye competing for the other wing berth - and Ashton will come back with a point to prove.

“Chris was desperately disappointed to miss this game (against Fiji),” Lancaster said.

“He likes scoring tries and, if anything, this will fuel his hunger and desire to get back into the side. It was a tough lesson to learn.

“We all know the quality of Chris Ashton. He has been one of the in-form players, both in the Premiership this season and since I have been involved with England.

“(Australia) are a top-three side and we recognise the quality of players we will need to beat them.”

Ashton was warned to work on his tackling technique by the disciplinary officials who banned him, which he has done with England coach Andy Farrell.

Lancaster has also spoken to him about the need for self-control and discipline. Two of the yellow cards were for late charges and one for a dangerous tackle.

But neither of those issues will count against Ashton’s selection to face the Wallabies, against whom he scored one of the great Twickenham tries in 2010.

“He has done some work on this with Andy. We know his quality, he tracks the ball well and he is a great finisher. We don’t ignore what he has done in the past,” Lancaster said.

Sharples went into the Fiji game with no expectations of unseating Ashton from the team, given he is England’s most prolific try-scorer with 15 from 26 Tests.

But the Gloucester wing made a strong case to be Ashton’s wing man against the Wallabies with an impressive two-try performance.

“I wasn’t expecting one good performance to push ‘Ashy’ out when he has played exceptionally well for England for the last couple of years,” Sharples said.

“My goal was to do the best I could, put a bit of competition on him and also with Ugo Monye for the other wing spot.

“It was a good game for a wing. Our attack was firing, I got my hands on the ball and scored two tries. I was happy with the way it went.”

If Ashton and Sharples were both selected, one of them would have to start in their less-favoured left-wing position.

Monye will hope to influence that debate in training this week, having worn the 11 jersey against Fiji and marked his return to the England team with a simple try.

“There are selection decisions to be made. It’s not a nightmare at all, it’s a great position to be in,” Lancaster said.

Sharples and Monye were joined on the scoresheet by Manu Tuilagi, who touched down twice late on against the tiring Fijians, and Tom Johnson while the England pack earned a penalty try.

Alex Goode was highly influential from full-back, stepping up to act as England’s second playmaker alongside Toby Flood and bringing a new dimension to the red rose attack.

While Goode shone, Lancaster believes his influence will be even more important against the might of Australia, South Africa and New Zealand.

“The defences will be tight and tough to break down. To do that you need intelligent footballers and he is that,” Lancaster said.

Despite Goode’s vision and the seven tries scored, Lancaster is acutely aware that England were not anywhere near as clinical as they wanted to be or will need to be.

“It was a good start but we recognised the quality of the opposition that is coming around the corner. We will have to step up a couple of levels next week,” Lancaster said.

“We will have to be at our best. We are going to have to be more clinical.”

In addition to Ashton, Lancaster is expecting to have fit-again prop Alex Corbisiero and centre Jonathan Joseph available to face Australia.

Related articles

Live Blog Transfer Window Aftermath

 

Latest Stories

60 minutes ago
The case is being heard at the Old Bailey (Photo by Bruno Vincent/Getty Images)

A former public school boy accused of sexually assaulting an ex-classmate after a boozy night out told jurors that their encounter was “definitely consensual”.

Read more
Myles Lovell saved the lives of two people - and now wants to know how they are doing [Picture by St John's Ambulance]

A man who saved the lives of two people after their car flipped over is appealing for them to get in touch.

Read more
Seahorses are a protected species and trade in them is illegal (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

A Chinese medicine trader has been fined for selling sexual enhancement pills made with seahorse extracts in Elephant and Castle.

Read more

Match Reports

TOP STORIES

Promotions

Advanced running and training technology for beginners up to elite athletes

If you’re thinking of adding running treadmill to your fitness routine, you’re on the right track! There are several advantages to running on a treadmill versus running outdoors.

Renault-Zoe

The Renault ZOE follows on from the introduction of the electric Fluence ZE and Twizy, but unlike the former, the ZOE was designed from the ground up as an electric vehicle.

When no simple way to find Real Ale was at hand, 4 Ale enthusiasts got together to allow anyone with a smart phone to find Real Ale no matter where they happened to be, this was the birth of the Perfect Pint app.