In Brief

England rugby: Chris Ashton is named in Eddie Jones’s pre-season squad

Sale Sharks winger Ashton has not played for England since 2014

Chris Ashton has returned to the England fold after being named in Eddie Jones’s 44-man pre-season training squad.

Winger Ashton has not played for England since 2014, when he left Saracens and moved to France to join Toulon, but he is back on home soil after signing for Sale Sharks this summer.

The 31-year-old, who scored 19 tries in 39 games for England, grabbed a hat-trick of tries for the Barbarians in a 63-45 win against Jones’s side at Twickenham in May.

Jones told the BBC: “I think we have seen with his form at Saracens, then at Toulon, he has played exceedingly well. He’s come back to England because he wants to play for England so he has got the right desire and the right attitude. It will be good to work with him.”

England head coach Jones was warned by the RFU this week that results must improve this autumn following a disappointing run of defeats in the Six Nations and the tour of South Africa. 

The pre-season training camp from Saturday until Monday will give Jones the chance to see a number of new and young players in action. England’s regular captain Dylan Hartley is also part of the squad again, the BBC reports.

However, Jones did tell Sky Sports he was undecided over the England captaincy after Owen Farrell stepped into the role when Hartley missed the South Africa tour because of concussion.

Jones said the training camp is important with the World Cup on the horizon next year. He told EnglandRugby.com: “With just over 12 months until the Rugby World Cup, it is an important time. We haven’t selected everyone. There are a number of players we rested from the [South Africa] tour that we have allowed to continue their pre-season with their clubs.

“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, because we have 44 players coming in plus another 15 who are strongly in contention for the internationals in November.”

England play autumn internationals against South Africa, New Zealand, Japan and Australia.

England’s 44-man pre-season training squad

  • Backs: Chris Ashton (Sale Sharks), Mike Brown (Harlequins), Danny Cipriani (Gloucester Rugby), Joe Cokanasiga (Bath Rugby), Elliot Daly (Wasps), Nathan Earle (Harlequins), Owen Farrell (Saracens), George Ford (Leicester Tigers), Piers Francis (Northampton Saints), Gabriel Ibitoye (Harlequins), Alex Lozowski (Saracens), Joe Marchant (Harlequins), Jonny May (Leicester Tigers), Jordan Olowofela (Leicester Tigers), Dan Robson (Wasps), Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs), Ben Spencer (Saracens), Ben Te’o (Worcester Warriors), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers) 
  • Forwards: Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs), Tom Curry (Sale Sharks), Jamie George (Saracens), Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints), James Haskell (Northampton Saints), Alec Hepburn (Exeter Chiefs), Paul Hill (Northampton Saints), Nathan Hughes (Wasps), Nick Isiekwe (Saracens), Maro Itoje (Saracens), Joel Kpoku (Saracens), Joe Launchbury (Wasps), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints), Joe Marler (Harlequins), Michael Rhodes (Saracens), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins), Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs), Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins), Jack Singleton (Worcester Warriors), Will Spencer (Leicester Tigers), Elliott Stooke (Bath Rugby), Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby), Mako Vunipola (Saracens), Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs), Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons)

England’s autumn international fixtures

England vs. South Africa
  • When: Saturday 3 November 
  • Where: Twickenham, London 
  • Kick-off time: 3pm
England vs. New Zealand
  • When: Saturday 10 November 
  • Where: Twickenham, London 
  • Kick-off time: 3pm
England vs. Japan
  • When: Saturday 17 November 
  • Where: Twickenham, London 
  • Kick-off time: 3pm
England vs. Australia
  • When: Saturday 24 November 
  • Where: Twickenham, London 
  • Kick-off time: 3pm

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