Chris Ashton will be on a wing and a prayer when England tackle Wales in Saturday’s RBS Six Nations showdown at Twickenham. The Northampton flyer, who scored a record-equalling six tries in England’s title-winning campaign last year, was starved of possession in the victories over Scotland and Italy.
The Murrayfield rain and Roman snow did not help but England have been unable to showcase the new attacking philosophy interim coach Stuart Lancaster outlined before the tournament.
Ashton will spend this week looking to the skies, hoping for a clear day at Twickenham and the chance to cause Wales the kind of damage he did in last season’s 26-19 victory.
“I’m saying a little prayer every night,” said Ashton, who scored two tries at the Millennium Stadium 12 months ago.
“We’re fine in training. Last week was unfortunate because the snow just changed everything. It wouldn’t allow the lads to force the last pass.
“I’m there and I’m running as I’ve always run but unfortunately the lads can’t get the last pass away. It’s killing me, but there’s nothing I can do. You have to stick with it. As long as we’re winning then that is the main thing.”
Ashton has scored 15 tries 20 Tests but none in his last three international and England need to bring his devastating finishing ability into the game more.
Wales have scored six tries in the championship compared to Charlie Hodgson’s two charge-down efforts for England.