Ashton: My missus is closer to Lions than me

Saracens winger Chris Ashton has suggested his wife is closer to Warren Gatland’s British & Irish Lions squad for the tour of New Zealand than he is.

Sarries director of rugby Mark McCall told the media after last weekend’s 53-10 victory over Bath that Ashton and Sean Maitland had put in performances that would have interested Gatland ahead of his squad announcement on April 19.

It isn’t a feeling shared by Ashton, who thinks performances on the big stage — like Sunday’s Champions Cup clash with Glasgow — could narrow the gap on players who were in the shop window throughout the Six Nations.

“I have not thought about it,” said Ashton. “I think my missus [Melissa] is closer to it than me. There were a lot of good wingers playing in the Six Nations.

“I have big games coming. Hopefully, we have a couple of those sort of games and that’s my opportunity. It’s announced on the 19th so I haven’t got that many. At the minute I am moving house [during the Lions tour] but we will see. I can book a van for a different week.”

Ashton is set to move to Toulon this summer, ending any chance of him representing England, but it is a decision he is happy with.

“Me making the decision to move on has definitely made it easier for me without a doubt,” he says. “I can watch as a fan, but not in the pub where I get a bit of abuse if it’s full.”

He added: “I don’t feel any different from what I have been whether in England training or not,” says Ashton. “I’d like to think I could definitely play at that level still. A lot of credit is the coaching [at Saracens].

“Basically, we have got a set of international coaches here, that constantly works both ways — if I go to them and they come to me — and we are always looking to improve. I have a lot to thank them for. I want to finish well here before moving on. That is my main goal until the end of the season.”