Belfast Telegraph

Friday 28 November 2014

Farrell: Ashton has his hunger back

Andy Farrell hopes Chris Ashton is back to his best.
Andy Farrell hopes Chris Ashton is back to his best.

England backs coach Andy Farrell believes Chris Ashton has rediscovered the hunger that made him one of the game's deadliest finishers.

Ashton's form suffered an alarming dip last season, leading to calls for him to be dropped by head coach Stuart Lancaster.

But a strong start to Saracens' 2012-13 campaign has put him on the brink of starting on the right wing for next month's QBE Internationals against Australia, Argentina and New Zealand.

"Chris has dealt with things superbly well," Farrell said.

"He's had to realise that the reason the scrutiny is on him is because he has done superbly well in the past.

"Everyone has a slight slump but he's been able to get back on the horse.

"There are a lot of things that have improved in his game, but the main thing is the intent.

"You can see the fire and the hunger back in him. He wants on get on with it without making any excuses.

"He is letting his rugby do the talking and that is what we all want to see."

While Ashton is far from the finished article - he still looks vulnerable in defence at times - Farrell believes his try-scoring instincts set him apart.

"Without a shadow of doubt he is one of the best finishers in the game," he said.

"He knows what he must work on, but his X-factor is his ability to score tries and be in the right place all the time.

"He has shown intent in his game and he has never lost that this season.

"Even though he has adapted his game a little bit, whenever there is a break, whether he scores it or not, he is there.

"You want a wing with try-scoring ability, no doubt about that."

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