Heineken Cup: Saracens' Chris Ashton delighted with return to form
England wing Chris Ashton admits he was determined to prove a point to himself in Saracens' Heineken Cup clash
Last Updated: 07/04/13 3:59pm
Ashton struggled for form and was criticised for defensive lapses during the tournament, despite England coming within one victory of completing the Grand Slam.
He was exposed defensively by France and Wales, while his only try in the tournament came against opening opponents Scotland.
But the 26-year-old was sharp in Saracens' Heineken Cup semi-final win over Ulster, scoring a try and looking threatening throughout.
"I wanted to come straight back in and I wanted to play and prove a point to myself more than anything," said Ashton, who has helped Saracens to successive wins against Harlequins, Wasps and Ulster since returning from international duty.
"The past few weeks have gone well. People in the team are providing space and backing me, and that's all you need sometimes. It gives you confidence.
"Sometimes you have got to realise that opportunities in games are few and far between, but I got a try last week and one this week, so I hope it can carry on.
"The more I play with this team the more you understand each other and get those little connections."
Ashton's second-half touchdown - complete with his trademark celebratory dive - confirmed Saracens' place in the last four of European rugby's blue riband club competition for the first time since 2008.
And the former rugby league star's display earned acclaim from his head coach and former Ulster centre Mark McCall.
"Chris has had a lot of stick," McCall said. "But the last three weeks for us he has been exceptional.
"He took his try magnificently - it was a real finisher's try - but he had a great game apart from that."