Mallinder will not make Ashton an outcast
December 31, 2011
Northampton fly-half Ryan Lamb is tackled by opposite number Jimmy Gopperth during the game at Kingston Park © Getty Images
Northampton Saints boss Jim Mallinder is adamant that he will not ostracise Chris Ashton even though the winger is refusing to sign a new deal with the club.
Ashton's agent has made it clear that the England international will not be extending his stay at Franklin's Gardens beyond the end of the season but Mallinder insists that the player will still be considered for selection for next week's Aviva Premiership clash with league leaders Harlequins now that the player has completed his four-week suspension for hair-pulling.
"Chris Ashton is still part of our squad and we've not washed our hands of him," Mallinder said. "He is still part of our squad and he's not signed for anybody else as far as I know.
"We have a great group of lads and you just want players who want to play for you and it's as simple as that. You can't have superstars in your team, you just want players who want to play for you and that's what we want at Saints.
"Of course we will consider Chris for Friday night. Will we pick him? Maybe. He's not out of the equation. He's a quality winger and he still plays for us and we pay his wages."
Meanwhile, Mallinder was thrilled with his side's 32-14 victory over Newcastle Falcons at Kingston Park, with Ben Foden bagging a brace of tries before Soane Tonga'uiha and Tom crossed to secure a bonus point for the visitors.
"We're pleased with the win," he said. "It's about winning but you always want that extra point and we didn't get it last week. We got to three tries and didn't make it and that was frustrating.
"You have to keep playing to get that bonus point and it was pleasing to do that and to finish off like that, and for the subs to come on and make an impact like they did was very pleasing."
As for Newcastle head coach Alan Tait, he had no complaints about the final scoreline, with his side having managed just a solitary try through Suka Hufanga and three penalties from fly-half Jimmy Gopperth.
"It was still all to play for early in the second half, but you don't mind putting your hand up and admitting you've been beaten by a better team," he said.
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