Chris Ashton returns to England team to face Australia

 

AUTUMN INTERNATIONALS: ENGLAND v AUSTRALIA

  • Venue: Twickenham
  • Date: Saturday 17 November
  • Kick-off: 14:30 GMT

Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live & online. Watch highlights on BBC Three, online and on mobiles: Saturday 19:00-20:00 GMT; repeated on BBC Two on Sunday from 12:30 GMT

Winger Chris Ashton has been recalled to the England team for Saturday's autumn international against Australia.

The 25-year-old Saracens wing - who scored a spectacular length-of-the-field try against the Wallabies in 2010 - was suspended for last weekend's game against Fiji after picking up three yellow cards.

Ashton, who replaces Ugo Monye, is the only change from the 54-12 Fiji win.

He will play on the right wing with Charlie Sharples moving to the left.

LAST FIVE MEETINGS

  • Nov 2010 - England 35-18 Australia
  • Jun 2010 - Australia 20-21 England
  • Jun 2010 - Australia 27-17 England
  • Nov 2009 - England 9-18 Australia
  • Nov 2008 - England 14-28 Australia

Lancaster said it was "tough" on Monye, adding "Charlie's selection is on the back of his performance last weekend and also what he's demonstrated in training. He deserves to keep his place in the side".

Lancaster continued: "Chris is a proven player for us and is training extremely well at the moment as well."

Lancaster, who said Monday and Tuesday's training sessions "were the best I've seen" during his time with England, expects a tough test from the Wallabies, who are ranked third in the world.

"Australia are a quality team," he said. "We recognise the reaction that will come this week on the back of the French game.

"It's a pretty experienced side we're playing against so we'll need to be on our mettle."

Ashton will face recalled Wallaby wing Digby Ioane, who said during the week how he was looking forward to playing against England's "pretty" wingers. 

The Saracens man is the only change to the 23 from the big win against Fiji, which means 21-year-old Wasps forward Joe Launchbury, who won his maiden cap last week and had been tipped for a possible starting spot in the second row, once again starts on the replacements bench.

Rugby league convert Ashton has scored three tries in three Tests against Australia, with his first international try coming against the Wallabies in England's 21-20 victory in Sydney on the 2010 summer tour.

England's autumn schedule

  • 10 Nov: Beat Fiji 54-21
  • 17 Nov: v Australia, Twickenham
  • 24 Nov: v South Africa, Twickenham
  • 1 Dec: v New Zealand, Twickenham

He touched down twice in a record 35-18 win in London the following November, and the second of those efforts, finished by Ashton after England launched a counter-attack from behind their own line, is regarded as one of the great Twickenham tries.

Ashton is considered by many observers to be England's most potent attacking threat and has scored 15 tries in 26 Tests, but he has now gone nine games without crossing the line.

"He's hungry for the ball, his work rate off the ball is outstanding," said Lancaster.

"Defensively he's improved massively. I know he's had one or two yellow cards at the start of this season, but his positioning and the understanding in the back three with Alex Goode is a strength for us."

Lancaster praised the way the winger "tracks the ball and creates opportunities, not just for himself but for others".

And the England boss added: "He's a proven try scorer over the long haul for us - he hasn't scored so many recently, but you watch him in training and he's popping up all over the place. He'll add real value to us."

England go into the match against the injury-hit Wallabies as favourites to record a third consecutive victory over Australia, a run of success they have not enjoyed since winning the World Cup in 2003.

England team to face Australia: Alex Goode (Saracens, 3 caps); Chris Ashton (Saracens, 26 caps), Manusamoa Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers, 14 caps), Brad Barritt (Saracens, 8 caps), Charlie Sharples (Gloucester Rugby, 3 caps); Toby Flood (Leicester Tigers, 51 caps), Danny Care (Harlequins, 34 caps); Joe Marler (Harlequins, 4 caps), Tom Youngs, (Leicester Tigers, 1 cap), Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 32 caps), Tom Palmer (London Wasps, 41 caps), Geoff Parling (Leicester Tigers, 9 caps), Tom Johnson, (Exeter Chiefs, 4 caps), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins, capt, 9 caps), Thomas Waldrom (Leicester Tigers, 3 caps).

Replacements: David Paice (London Irish, 3 caps), David Wilson (Bath Rugby, 20 caps), Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 1 cap), Joe Launchbury (London Wasps, 1 cap), Tom Wood (Northampton Saints, 10 caps), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 25 caps), Owen Farrell (Saracens, 9 caps), Mike Brown (Harlequins, 8 caps).