Mixed report card for new signing Ashton
September 1, 2012
Saracens Chris Ashton made a high-profile switch from Premiership rivals Northampton © Getty Images
Saracens' Chris Ashton wasted little time in making and impact at his new club with two tries and a yellow card in their 40-3 thrashing of Aviva Premiership rivals London Irish at Twickenham.
His eye-catching display in his first competitive outing for the club earned high praise from director of rugby Mark McCall that was tempered by a reckless first half challenge that saw him sidelined by referee Wayne Barnes following an intervention from the Television Match Official.
"He brings something different, he's never far away from where the action is, particularly when we've got the ball," said McCall. "He pops up in unusual positions, which is exactly what we wanted. We are hoping he will take our attacking game forward. He played really well today and a lot of the others did too."
Ashton saw yellow for a shoulder charge on Irish's Steve Shingler and his reaction in front of the ESPN TV cameras drew scorn from his boss. "It wasn't his finest hour. He didn't use his arms in the tackle. It was an indisciplined thing to have done and I've no complaints about the decision."
But McCall has been impressed by Ashton's attitude since arriving from Northampton. "He's got his own reputation but we've found him very good so far. I think some of the reputation he has is unfair," he said. "He just wants a new start and he's chucked himself into the club. He came a week early to get to know the people he didn't know already and the players appreciated that."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The tone was set early on in Dublin as a more clinical Ireland made England pay. All is not lost, however, argues Phil Vickery
Monday Maul takes in retirement talk, England reshuffles, France's unfair advantage and Scotland's communication breakdown
John Griffiths takes an analytical look at Week 3 of ESPN Scrum's Fantasy Rugby game - who should you have picked?
Ireland coach Joe Schmidt won the tactical battle and set his team on course for a shot at the Grand Slam. Tom Hamilton reports from Dublin