August 2, 2018 / 10:04 AM / in 9 months

Rugby - Winger Ashton recalled to England squad

LONDON (Reuters) - Winger Chris Ashton earned a recall to Eddie Jones’s England squad on Thursday for the first time since 2016.

FILE PHOTO: England's Chris Ashton scores a try during their Rugby World Cup Pool B match against Romania at Otago Stadium in Dunedin September 24, 2011. REUTERS/Brandon Malone/File Photo

Ashton, 31, has yet to play for England under the Australian and last represented his country in 2014. He was named in Jones’s first squad but then served lengthy bans for biting and gouging.

“Chris is an exceptional player. I think we have seen with his form at Saracens, then at Toulon, he has played exceedingly well,” Jones said as he announced a 44-man pre-season training squad.

“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.”

Ashton, who scored 19 tries in 39 tests for England, joined Sale Sharks last month after a season with French side Toulon.

Jones said a number of players rested for the tour to South Africa were not considered but would be closely watched during the club season.

“With just over 12 months until the Rugby World Cup, it is an important time,” he added.

“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.”

England will play South Africa, New Zealand, Japan and Australia in November internationals.

The hosts head into the autumn with five defeats in their last six tests, including a 2-1 series loss to South Africa in June and a disappointing fifth-placed finish in the Six Nations, which they entered as defending champions.

Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Toby Davis

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