Banned Ashton to miss Six Nations


Ashton, named in new coach Eddie Jones' first England squad after winning no caps since 2014, was found guilty of making contact with the eyes of centre Luke Marshall while playing for Saracens against Ulster in a European Champions Cup game last weekend.

“Players have these setback and I'm sure he's a good enough player to get over it,” Jones told Sky Sports.

“He's been in good form and I know he was so keen to get back into the international fold.

“It's disappointing but it opens an opportunity for another player.”

The coach is already without Jonny May, first choice wing under Jones' predecessor Stuart Lancaster and who suffered a knee injury in December that has ruled him out for the season.

Jack Nowell, Anthony Watson and Marland Yarde are likely to fight it out for the two wing berths for England's Six Nations opener against Scotland on Feb. 6.

As part of England's preparations Jones said that he had secured the ad-hoc services of former international flanker and fellow Australian George Smith to work with his players.

“He's going to pop down next week and do a bit of breakdown work with the back rows,” Jones said of the 111-cap Wallaby forward who played under him when he was Australia coach and is now playing for Premiership club Wasps.

“It's a very informal relationship, more about the friendship I have with George, but he's obviously a world class player and our players can only benefit from his tuition.” – Reuters

Original source: Banned Ashton to miss Six Nations