Chris Ashton returns to Premiership after signing contract with Sale Sharks

Chris Ashton last played for England in 2014
Chris Ashton last played for England in 2014

Chris Ashton has revived his chances of featuring for England ahead of the 2019 World Cup after he marked his return back to English Premiership following a deal with Sale Sharks.

Ashton, who made his professional rugby debut with Wigan Warriors, featured for Northampton and Saracens between 2007 and 2017 before moving to French club Toulon.

He had a productive debut season in Top 14 for the French side where he finished as the leading try-scorer and also recently scored a hat-trick when he represented Barbarians against Eddie Jones' side.

"This really feels like 'going home'. I've always thought, in the back of my mind, that I'd return to the North to play rugby and I'm delighted to be joining Sale Sharks," Ashton said.

"They have developed an increasingly strong squad, including Jono Ross, whom I remember in his younger days at Saracens. He left and has become a considerably more mature player!

"In Toulon, I've added to the experience I gained at Saracens. There are many players at Sale Sharks with whom I'm looking forward to playing.

"I'm not coming to rest on my laurels: I feel I've got a lot of rugby left in me and would like to make an impact and help to take the club to their winning ways of 2006."

Ashton's departure to France came after he was not considered for England selection especially when Jones took over. His last appearance for the red rose team came in 2014 but believes he has a chance to revive his international career with the all important World Cup in Japan around the corner.

Sale director of rugby Steve Diamond is pleased with Ashton's return back to the Premiership and is confident of his abilities.

"Chris is obviously a World class signing. When we were looking around, following the announcement of the return of Rohan Janse van Rensburg, we wanted to keep the makeup of our Back Three as exciting as we can," he said.

"Chris wanted to return to this country to fulfil his potential with England again, and we thought that he'd fit in well here.

"He's a multi-talented, superb professional who has experienced the benefit of the successful culture at Saracens.

"We look forward to giving him a warm welcome in a fortnight's time. He'll join the exciting players already at the club and if we secure another two or three of our forward targets, we'll have a squad capable of reaching a top four placing.

"We'll continue to offer our supporters top-level entertainment at the A.J.Bell Stadium."

Premiership Rugby 2018/19 - Points Table