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I haven’t ruled out the ‘Ash-Splash’, says England ace Ashton

England winger Chris Ashton has not ruled out performing his trademark ‘Ash-Splash’ try celebration when his Saracens team face a Bermuda International Select XV next week.

Ashton and his Saracens teammates, including England internationals Mouritz Botha and Charlie Hodgson, take on the star-studded Select XV at the National Sports Centre next Friday night.

And Ashton told

The Royal Gazette he could well be tempted to treat the Island’s rugby fans to his famous ball-in-one-hand swallow dive if he manages to breach the Select XV’s defence.

Coached by ex-England World Cup winner Lewis Moody and skippered by ex-Ireland fullback Geordan Murphy, the Select XV will feature a host of Bermuda, USA and Canada national team players.

“You never know,” said Ashton when asked about the likelihood of his scoring celebration making an appearance in Bermuda. “I guess you’ll just have to wait and see.”

Ideally, for Ashton, he would have been boarding a plan to Australia with the British Lions squad rather than heading to Bermuda.

The 26-year-old would have been regarded a near-certainty to tour Down Under before his disappointing displays in the Six Nations cost him a place in Warren Gatland’s squad.

“Everybody wants to be involved in (the Lions), don’t they? Unfortunately some of England’s (Six Nations) games didn’t go as I wanted ... it’s the wrong time of the year to get that bit wrong.

“There’s a lot of good wingers around so the competition is fierce to get in the Lions ... the Six Nations just didn’t go well enough for me.”

Ashton made the move to Saracens from Northampton Saints at the start of the season and helped his side finish top of the Aviva Premiership table for the first time in their history.

However, the Sarries lost to Ashton’s former side, the Saints, in the play-off semi-final earlier this month a shock defeat for the London-based outfit.

“Generally it’s been a pretty good season for me.” said Wigan-born Ashton, “It’s always difficult fitting into a new team and getting used to all the new players and how they play.

“The team’s really good and there are a lot of good players. We’ve been the best team all year but we lost in the semi-finals against Northampton which was disappointing.”

Saracens’ tour will also include community work through school visits, coaching workshops and fundraising activities, culminating with the international match which kicks off at 6.30pm.

The Sarries trip is expected to raise in excess of $50,000 for the Beyond Rugby charity and the youth section of Bermuda Rugby Football Union.

For Ashton, it will be his first trip to the Island. “It will be a nice little break for the lads after a long season,” said the former England Rugby League international.

“I know the Island is a small place, I’m sure it doesn’t see too much rugby, so it will be good for Bermuda to have a big team like Saracens come over.

“We’ve got a bit of time off and it’s quite unusual for clubs to arrange something like this; I know the players are looking forward to it.

“I think a couple of the lads have been (to Bermuda) on holiday but it’s the first time for me.”

He added: “It’s good to get involved in coaching the kids, especially those that don’t see too many professional teams. I know the Island is relatively tiny and I’m sure if there’s something going on everyone knows about it and will want to get involved.”

The Ash-Splash: England winger Chris Ashton could well perform his famous swallow dive try celebration when Saracens play a Bermuda International Select XV at the National Sports Centre next Friday.

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Published May 21, 2013 at 6:33 pm (Updated May 21, 2013 at 6:33 pm)

I haven’t ruled out the ‘Ash-Splash’, says England ace Ashton

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