Tue, 16 Jul 2019

Pregnancy puts Ashton's RWC in doubt

24 Jun 2019, 04:12 GMT+10

London - Chris Ashton has all but ended his hopes of playing at this year's Rugby World Cup in Japan by withdrawing from England's training squad due to his wife's pregnancy.

A statement issued by England's governing Rugby Football Union on Sunday said coach Eddie Jones would not call up a replacement for the 32-year-old wing, whose last England appearance came during a Six Nations international against France at Twickenham in February.

Ashton, who came back to English club rugby at the end of last season after a stint in France, said in that RFU statement: "When I returned from Toulon last season it was for two reasons - firstly for my family and secondly to try and realise the dream of playing for England again.

"Pulling on the white shirt is always special and I'm grateful to Eddie for giving me the opportunity to have done so again.

"My wife, Melissa, is pregnant with our second child and I don't feel it is right for me to commit to being away in camp at this stage," explained Ashton, who who has scored 20 tries in 44 Tests.

The powerful flyer, who played alongside England captain Owen Farrell at Saracens, added: "In the meantime I wish Owen and the boys all the very best with their preparation over the coming months."

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