England winger Chris Ashton determined to end try drought against Australia
By Joe Drabble - Twitter: @SkySportsDrabs. Last Updated: 15/11/12 5:02pm
Chris Ashton admitted suffering "sleepless nights" while waiting to discover if he had earned his place back in the England side, and is now determined to repay head coach Stuart Lancaster by breaking his try-drought against Australia.
The Saracens winger was forced to sit out England's opening QBE international against Fiji through suspension and watched on at Twickenham as wing rivals Charlie Sharples and Ugo Monye bagged three tries between them.
But, perhaps influenced by his impressive record against the Wallabies, coach Lancaster has recalled the 25-year-old to England's starting XV for Saturday's showdown in place of Monye, much to Ashton's relief.
He told Sky Sports News HD: "I went to the game (against Fiji) and found it hard to watch. I gave them (Sharples and Monye) the opportunity and fair play to Charlie I thought he took his chance really well and scored two tries and Ugo got another.
"I had a few sleepless nights over the weekend but thankfully Stu chose me to play."
Ashton has scored three tries in his last two Tests against the Wallabies, who come into Saturday's meeting at Twickenham reeling from a 33-6 defeat to France in Paris.
The match presents Ashton with an opportunity to end a run of nine successive Test matches without a try, a drought he concedes has been playing on his mind.
He added: "Wingers are meant to score tries and nine games (without scoring) is quite a long time. It's difficult when you only get a maximum of five games in a row together, and they're tough games in the Six Nations, so it's hard to get a run going.
"I'm just searching for that first one and hopefully I'll be back on track."
Ashton helped himself to two tries when England and Australia last met this time two years ago and, unsurprisingly, the Sarries flier has fond memories of the 35-18 Twickenham triumph.
Asked why he may have enjoyed previous success against the Wallabies, Ashton said: "Coming from Rugby League there was always a big confrontation when England played Australia and every sport England play against Australia there is.
"For any winger to get three yellow cards in seven games is tough going. When you've only made two tackles a game it is pretty ridiculous to be getting sin-binned for three games."
"I think the way we played against Australia at home last time we played them was the first team we'd actually played well together as a core group of people that are here now.
"It was a good day for England and hopefully we can do that again."
A two-week ban was imposed on Ashton ahead of the Autumn Internationals after he received three yellow cards while in domestic action for Saracens.
But the former Northampton player, while disappointed with the sanction, insists he has worked hard during that time to ensure any such suspensions will be avoided in the near future.
"It's been a long two weeks. It goes quite slow when you are banned from playing but I am pleased to be back," he said.
"For any winger to get three yellow cards in seven games is tough going. When you've only made two tackles a game it is pretty ridiculous to be getting sin-binned for three games.
"It was maybe justified. It was my fault a bit and I have to go away and work on my technique, which I have been doing for two weeks so hopefully I can erase those mistakes."