Ashton eyes England return post biting ban

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Ashton eyes England return post biting ban

Winger Chris Ashton is determined to regain his place in the England squad after being handed a 13-week ban last week for biting an opponent.

The 29-year-old Saracens back, who has won 39 international caps, was found guilty of biting Northampton prop Alex Waller during a Premiership match.

Ashton, who has not represented his country since 2014, is free to play again from December 19.

“My clear ambition is first to regain my place in the Saracens team and then to regain my place in the England side, Ashton said in a statement.

“It may seem a long journey back from the despair of last week’s judgement but I will do everything in my power to get back to where, in my heart, I feel I belong.”

Ashton was handed a 10-week suspension earlier this year for making contact with the eye of an opponent during a Champions Cup match, crushing his hopes of a recall to the England squad for this year’s Six Nations.

The former rugby league player maintains his innocence in both incidents.

“I told the disciplinary panel that I did not bite the Northampton prop, just as I had told the panel in January that I did not make contact with the eyes of the Ulster centre,” he added.

“Both panels chose to accept the opposing version of events. I did not agree with either verdict but I must and do accept the sanctions.”

Ashton was not included in England coach Eddie Jones’s 45-man elite player squad which was named last month.

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