ASH­TON IS RULED OUT OF AUS­TRALIA CLASH

WINGER’S RE­TURN TO THE IN­TER­NA­TIONAL FOLD IS CUT SHORT BY IN­JURY

Sunderland Echo - - Sport -

Chris Ash­ton’s in­ter­na­tional come­back has stalled af­ter the Eng­land wing was ruled out of Satur­day’s cli­max to the au­tumn se­ries against Aus­tralia by a calf prob­lem.

Ash­ton will be lim­ited to three ap­pear­ances this month due to the in­jury sus­tained in the 35-15 vic­tory over Ja­pan at Twick­en­ham, a scan con­firm­ing that he will be sidelined for a fort­night.

The 31-year-old be­came avail­able for Eng­land once more when he left Toulon for Sale over the sum­mer and Ed­die Jones im­me­di­ately se­lected him in his squad for the Quil­ter In­ter­na­tion­als.

When Manu Tuilagi was ruled out of the opener against South Africa be­cause of a groin strain, he was cleared to win his 40th cap and first in over four years.

“Chris Ash­ton was hurt in the game on Satur­day,” for­wards coach Steve Borth­wick said.

“He’s been scanned and in­ves­ti­gated and un­for­tu­nately the in­jury means he will be out for a cou­ple of weeks. He’ll leave camp to­day (Tues­day).

“Chris is a fan­tas­tic player who knows his way to the try­line. He’s been great around the squad the last few weeks. It’s very dis­ap­point­ing he’s out.”

Ash­ton fell out of favour un­der Stu­art Lan­caster and then Jones, whose op­por­tu­ni­ties to pick the dual code in­ter­na­tional were re­stricted by a suc­ces­sion of bans.

He made only one ap­pear­ance for Sale this sea­son due to a seven-week sus­pen­sion in­curred for a tip-tackle be­fore be­ing picked by Eng­land.

Jonny May and Jack Now­ell are set to be re­stored to the wings for the first time since the se­ries opener against South Africa, but Bath pow­er­house Joe Cokanasiga is a fringe con­tender to start.

Cokanasiga pro­duced a promis­ing de­but against Ja­pan, us­ing his 6’4’’ and 18 stones frame to good ef­fect to score the de­ci­sive try and make a num­ber of dents on the Brave Blos­soms line.

How­ever, hav­ing just turned 21-years-old the Wal­la­bies might be deemed too big a hur­dle to face.

“Joe did re­ally well. He’s got mas­sive po­ten­tial and is re­ally ea­ger to learn and hun­gry to learn,” Borth­wick said.

“Phys­i­cally he’s got some great at­tributes and at­ti­tude wise he wants to be the best he can be. He’s a young guy who has a lot of po­ten­tial.”

Tuilagi is un­likely to be in­volved on Satur­day as he con­tin­ues his bat­tle for full fit­ness, but the Le­ices­ter cen­tre re­mains with the squad and has yet to be of­fi­cially ruled out against Aus­tralia.

“Manu trained very hard this morn­ing (Tues­day) and has an­other ses­sion to­day. He’s work­ing re­ally hard to get as fit as pos­si­ble, so we’ll keep as­sess­ing him,” Borth­wick said.

Joe Cokanasiga cel­e­brates scor­ing Eng­land’s third try against Ja­pan on Satur­day. IN­SET: Chris Ash­ton.

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