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England v New Zealand: Chris Ashton makes first start in four years

November 8, 2018 1:13 PM
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England v New Zealand: Chris Ashton makes first start in four years

Chris Ashton will make his first England start in more than four years in Saturday's match against New Zealand at Twickenham.

Prop Ben Moon replaces Alec Hepburn in the front row and flanker Sam Underhill starts instead of the injured Tom Curry as boss Eddie Jones makes three changes from the side that beat South Africa.

Despite his side starting as underdogs, Jones insists the expectation remains the same as ever.

"The expectation for Saturday is no different to any other Test match," he said.

Ashton, 31, has made only one appearance for club side Sale this season, scoring a hat-trick against Connacht after his debut was delayed by a suspension for a tip-tackle in a pre-season friendly.

He joined the club in the summer after a successful one-year stint at Toulon where he scored a record 24 tries in a Top 14 season.

He was named in Jones' first Six Nations squad in 2016 while at Saracens, but missed the tournament through a 10-week eye-gouging ban.

Ashton has a total of 19 international tries in 40 appearances for England.

When he left to play in France, it seemed certain Ashton would never play for England again.

Not only had he copped a series of suspensions in 2016, but he was also surprisingly left out of the squad for the tour of Australia in that summer.

But Eddie Jones insists Ashton has always been on the radar, and points to his infectious character off the field as well as his try-scoring instinct on it.

Jones says he has a 'gut feeling' Ashton will prosper against the All Blacks - the Sale man was a hero the last time England beat New Zealand back in 2012.

England: Elliot Daly; Chris Ashton, Henry Slade, Ben Te'o, Jonny May; Owen Farrell (co-captain), Ben Youngs; Ben Moon, Dylan Hartley (co-captain), Kyle Sinckler, Maro Itoje, George Kruis, Brad Shields, Sam Underhill, Mark Wilson.

Replacements: Jamie George, Alec Hepburn, Harry Williams, Charlie Ewels, Courtney Lawes, Danny Care, George Ford, Jack Nowell.


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