Ashley-Cooper wary of England 'mongrel' Ashton
LONDON (AFP) –
Australian utility back Adam Ashley-Cooper has warned his team-mates to pay close attention to England’s “mongrel” wing Chris Ashton when the two nations clash at Twickenham on Saturday.
Ashton will return to England’s starting XV for the Cook Cup encounter after he sat out last weekend’s 54-12 thrashing of Fiji due to suspension.
The Saracens player scored two tries when the sides last met in 2010 and Ashley-Cooper says one of those efforts — which saw Ashton run nearly 100 metres to score — had lodged itself in his memory.
“It was a good try — I remember it! Ashton’s a real opportunist,” said the Australian.
“You can see his (rugby) league background in the way he plays. He’s a mongrel player, and I don’t mean that in a negative way.
“He’s physical and loves getting his hands on the ball. That’s what rugby’s all about. He has a high work rate and gets around the field looking for the ball. He’s a real threat.
“He plays with a lot of desperation and I’m sure there are a lot of wingers who model their game on him. We have to be aware of where he is on the field and how close he is to the ball, making sure he doesn’t get his hands on it.
“We’ve got (winger) Digby Ioane coming back and they’re similar in terms of work rate off the ball.”
Having found himself on the end of a 33-6 loss to France last weekend, Ashley-Cooper says the Wallabies will be determined to re-assert themselves against Stuart Lancaster’s England.
“England against Australia is always a special fixture. Unfortunately we lost here in 2010,” he said.
“Absolutely it’s about restoring pride, for ourselves and the supporters
“I love playing in Twickenham; a lot of our guys do. There are a lot of Australians living over here, so we have strong support.
“You can feel that throughout the week. We don’t want to let our supporters here and back home down.”