Feb 24, 2015
In Focus: Chris Ashton
In the first of a new weekly player feature, winger Chris Ashton talks about his time at Saracens...
Chris Ashton’s career has been all about scoring tries: the figure stands at 186 (including his Rugby League days) so far. The Wigan born wing has been a prolific scorer wherever he has plied his trade. “Ashy” - as he is affectionately known – began his career in Rugby League with Wigan Warriors. He made 52 appearances for the Cherry and Whites, scoring 30 tries. Ashton made his cross-code move in 2007, joining Northampton and racked up 92 tries during his time with the Saints.
Ashton made the move to Saracens in 2012 and quickly endeared himself to the Saracens faithful with his performances on the pitch. He has already crossed over 41 times for Saracens.
“I love this club,” said Ashton. “I have enjoyed every minute of my time with Saracens since I joined. I settled in very quickly after coming here and last season was one of the best in my career.”
Ashton’s ability to come off his wing to support attacks has been a key feature in the success he’s enjoyed throughout his career. Many wingers are blessed with lightning pace, but Ashton has never been a player content to just sit in his position and wait for the ball to come to him.
“I always try to give it 100% for this club. Playing in a team like Saracens us wide men are always going to get chances to score. I’ve just got to do my job when those chances come along,” stated Ashton.
The Saracens wing set a new record for the most tries scored in a season in a European competition during the club’s run to the Heineken Cup Final last year. He is also currently the top English try scorer in European cup history, with 27 tries.
“In all honesty it’s not something I spend a lot of time thinking about. Last season I was lucky enough to get on a good run and I’m fortunate to play in a team that can score tries from all parts of the pitch,” said Ashton.
Ashton made his debut for England in March 2010 against France in Paris and has notched up 19 tries in 39 tests for his country. Having already scored 10 times this season for Saracens, there is a compelling case for the prolific winger to be included in Lancaster’s World Cup squad.
“Last year, it was a bit more raw not being in the England team and I got distracted a bit,” the Saracens star admitted. “While it’s not easier, I’ve got better at putting the disappointment to one side and you just have to keep going. Hopefully, I can perform well, prove a point for the club and get into the World Cup training squad.”
Saracens are currently lying in third place in the Aviva Premiership and have a big clash with Newcastle this Saturday. The Falcons showed they are a side not to be underestimated, as they drew to an in-form Wasps side last Friday.
“A win this Saturday could take us up to second. We are all feeling very positive; we’re well placed in three competitions and the team are all really excited for the rest of the season,” concluded Ashton.