Chris Ashton named in England's pre-season training squad

Chris Ashton returns to the England squad
Chris Ashton returns to the England squad
©PA

England coach Eddie Jones has named Sale Sharks winger Chris Ashton in a 44-member pre-season squad that will take part in a training camp between 4th and 6th August in Teddington.

Ashton last played for England in 2014 and moved to French club Toulon last season where he broke the try-scoring record in Top 14. He also scored a hat-trick for Barbarians during an invitational game against England at Twickenham in May.

With the 2019 World Cup in mind, Ashton sought an early release from Toulon and was signed by Sale Sharks and his move back to England was immediately rewarded with Jones including him in the training squad.

"Chris is an exceptional player," said Jones. "I think we have seen with his form at Saracens, then at Toulon he has played exceedingly well.

"He's come back to England because he wants to play for England so he has got the right desire and the right attitude so it will be good to work with him."

A number of England players, who recently were part of the series in South Africa were rested but their performance will be monitored when they represent their respective clubs.

“This is a pre-season camp so a lot of our players, particularly the ones who went on the South African tour, have just started training with their clubs so it’s just a chance to get a group of players together to have a chat about the season ahead and look at the important areas in developing the team," said Jones.

"With just over 12 months until the Rugby World Cup, it is an important time.

"We haven’t selected everyone. There are a number of players we rested from the tour that we have allowed to continue their pre-season with their clubs.

"This camp is all about individual preparation, it’s about looking to see how we can help each of the players improve, how we can help with their selection for the national team, because we have 44 players coming in plus another 15 who are strongly in contention for the Quilter Internationals in November."

England skipper Dylan Hartley, who is recovering from a concussion has been included along with three players from England U20 side - Gabriel Ibitoye (Harlequins), Joel Kpoku (Saracens) and Jordan Olowofela (Leicester Tigers). South African flanker Michael Rhodes, who recently qualified to play for England will also be part of the squad.

England will face South Africa, New Zealand and Japan in their November series at Twickenham.

England pre-season training squad:

Backs:

Chris Ashton (Sale Sharks), Mike Brown (Harlequins), Danny Cipriani (Gloucester Rugby), Joe Cokanasiga (Bath Rugby), Elliot Daly (Wasps), Nathan Earle (Harlequins), Owen Farrell (Saracens), George Ford (Leicester Tigers), Piers Francis (Northampton Saints), Gabriel Ibitoye (Harlequins), Alex Lozowski (Saracens), Joe Marchant (Harlequins), Jonny May (Leicester Tigers), Jordan Olowofela (Leicester Tigers), Dan Robson (Wasps), Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs), Ben Spencer (Saracens), Ben Te’o (Worcester Warriors), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers).

Forwards:

Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs), Tom Curry (Sale Sharks), Jamie George (Saracens), Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints), James Haskell (Northampton Saints), Alec Hepburn (Exeter Chiefs), Paul Hill (Northampton Saints), Nathan Hughes (Wasps), Nick Isiekwe (Saracens), Maro Itoje (Saracens), Joel Kpoku (Saracens), Joe Launchbury (Wasps), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints), Joe Marler (Harlequins), Michael Rhodes (Saracens), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins), Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs), Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins), Jack Singleton (Worcester Warriors), Will Spencer (Leicester Tigers), Elliott Stooke (Bath Rugby), Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby), Mako Vunipola (Saracens), Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs), Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons)

Not considered for selection due to injury/ fitness/ other: Jack Clifford (Harlequins), Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers), Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby), Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers), Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby)
George Kruis (Saracens), Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs), Brad Shields (Wasps), Denny Solomona (Sale Sharks), Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers), Billy Vunipola (Saracens), Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby), Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens).

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England Squad