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Two-try Chris Ashton sends message to Eddie Jones in Saracens win

Chris Ashton issued new England coach Eddie Jones with evidence of his finishing skills after plundering two tries in Saracens' 48-18 Aviva Premiership rout of Worcester.

Ashton crossed in each half in the first match of the London double header at Twickenham, the second a smart score that saw him glide infield on a switch with Charlie Hodgson.

The 28-year-old won the last of his 39 caps 18 months ago and last week outlined the desire to end his international exile, encouraged by Jones' pledge that every player starts with a clean slate.

Ashton, who was included in England's initial World Cup training squad during the summer, has scored 19 Test tries but it was his defensive lapses that ultimately dragged him down the pecking order under Stuart Lancaster.

Saracens lost skipper Alistair Hargreaves to concussion in the opening seconds, but it was the only setback of an afternoon of complete domination as they amassed six tries.

The victory offered a fitting end to the career of South African number eight Ernst Joubert, who enters retirement after playing the final match of his six-year spell at the reigning English champions.

Hodgson's 18-point haul in front of a 42,680 crowd at Twickenham saw him pass the 2,500 mark for Premiership points, but it was Maro Itoje who was crowned man of the match with an impressive shift that will also have been noted by Jones.

A combination of a defensive lapse and brilliant individual skill enabled Saracens to surge into an early lad.

Worcester failed to man the fringes of the breakdown properly, inviting scrum-half Ben Spencer to slip through the gap before producing an exquisite left foot chip to the right wing where a kind bounce enabled Ashton to gather and score

Spencer's sparkling start continued when he made a try-saving tackle on Cooper Vuna before running in Saracens' second try.

Lock Itoje, who had replaced Hargreaves, dragged in two defenders after breaking from a ruck and fed Chris Wyles, who supplied the supporting Spencer with the scoring pass.

It was only Spencer's second Premiership start and having been given his chance ahead of Richard Wigglesworth and Neil De Kock through squad rotation, he was seizing his opportunity.

Three minutes after the interval Saracens powered further ahead through a line-out drive that ended with flanker Jackson Wray forcing his way over.

Power gave way to skill as the bonus point was secured, the move starting when hooker Schalk Brits caught a poor kick and set off on a mazy run that left several defenders flailing in his wake.

Hodgson sprinted on to the South African's pass and headed for the right corner with Ashton cleverly coming in on off his wing and racing over.

Saracens turned to their pack once again with Brits finishing off the line-out drive this time and Worcester's afternoon continued to deteriorate when Phil Dowson was sin-binned for taking George Kruis out in the air.

Rapid hands from Ashton and Hodgson, combined with decoy lines from Brad Barritt and Marcelo Bosch, then helped side-stepping full-back Ben Ransom over.

Substitute prop Joe Rees barrelled over, Saracens unable to half his momentum, and the afternoon ended with Worcester's second try through number eight GJ van Velze.


From Belfast Telegraph