Aviva Premiership
McCall defends Ashton try celebration
ESPN Staff
April 13, 2014
Saracens' Chris Ashton takes flight against Harlequins earlier this month © Getty Images

Chris Ashton has been told to keep up his extravagant 'Ash Splash' try celebration despite claims that it is disrespectful to opponents.

Ashton scored an excellent opening try in Saracens' recent win over Ulster in the Heineken Cup quarter-finals, but was criticised for goading an already fired-up crowd with his swallow dive finish.

However, ahead of today's crunch match with Aviva Premiership rivals Northampton Saints, Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall defended Ashton's style. McCall said: "I think he should do it. He's not doing it to wind anybody up, he's doing it as a moment of happiness. He loves scoring tries.

"For not one person to say last week's try was a world-class finish was pathetic. It was a magnificent try and he took it brilliantly.

"The crowd were on his back anyway. He's never dropped one and I've got no idea why it causes the upset that it does."

Ashton, meanwhile, has offered some words of advice to England head coach Stuart Lancaster ahead of the arrival of rugby league convert Sam Burgess.

Lancaster is understood to have earmarked Burgess, who joins Bath next season, for a role in the centres, but Ashton says his best position could lie in the back-row. Ashton told the Rugby Paper: "Burgess would be best suited at the back of the scrum, a bit more of an up the middle man. That's where he will fit in best, in my opinion."

Ashton, who switched codes in 2007, also cast doubt on Burgess's chances of making England's 2015 World Cup squad. He said: "I think England not getting to the final last year [at the 2013 Rugby League World Cup] will have bothered him and with a World Cup next year he has probably got one eye on that. He would love to be involved in that but I do think it's going to be a big ask."

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