Thursday 19 September 2019

Black sheep Ashton shines for baa-baas

Chris Ashton hopes to revive his England career
Chris Ashton hopes to revive his England career Sportsdesk

Chris Ashton plundered a hat-trick of tries as the Barbarians condemned England to an embarrassing fourth successive defeat by emerging 63-45 winners at Twickenham.

Ashton carried his record-breaking form for Toulon into his first appearance against the nation for whom he won 39 caps until departing for France last year, resigned to Eddie Jones' indifference.

The 31-year-old hopes to revive his England career in the future and this display, albeit in a match where defending was low down both teams' agendas, was a reminder of his talent.

The chances largely dried up after he raced into the right corner for his third, celebrating with a second 'Ash Splash' of the afternoon.

Chaotic and unpredictable, it was hard for Jones to draw any meaningful pointers from a non-cap international and first defeat in the tie since 2014 that serves as the prelude to next month's South Africa tour.

Elsewhere, Brad Barritt hailed Saracens' "relentless appetite to improve" after they secured a fourth Aviva Premiership title with victory over Exeter at Twickenham. A 27-10 win ended the Chiefs' title reign and gave Saracens a third top-flight title in four seasons.

It also completed a memorable turnaround from losing seven successive games in all competitions during November and December.

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