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Mark McCall: Chris Ashton is back to his brilliant best
It was the Chris Ashton everybody talked about two years ago, popping up all over the place, hands on the ball, making breaks. But he also defended very well, he was hungry for work, he was energetic so it was great for him.
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Saracens boss Mark McCall says Chris Ashton is back to his best after the winger's superb display in the 22-13 win at Wasps.
Ashton was well below par for England in the Six Nations and was on the wrong end of some fierce criticism from the rugby media.
But he scored the crucial second-half try which put the Aviva Premiership leaders ahead for the first time at Adams Park.
"I thought he was absolutely brilliant today," said McCall. "It was the Chris Ashton everybody talked about two years ago, popping up all over the place, hands on the ball, making breaks.
"But he also defended very well, he was hungry for work, he was energetic so it was great for him.
"He's a sensitive soul and anyone in the world who is sensitive is going to be affected a little bit by some of the criticism he received.
"However, when he came back to Saracens he knew he was coming back to a place where we won't judge him in that way.
"We back him, we believe he's a great player - that's why we brought him to the club.
"We leave him be and we let him play and let him do what he does best. At our club we try to concentrate on what people are good at rather than what they are not good at - and Chris is good at quite a few things."
Despite seeing his side take an early lead, Wasps director of rugby Dai Young said: "It was a game we didn't have control of.
"We started well but it's very difficult to play without the ball. For big periods of the game, our handling and ball retention was really poor.
"We had something like 16 handling errors which meant we never really worked Saracens hard enough in defence to stress them. If you give the top teams that amount of ball in that territory they are always going to come away with points."Aviva Premiership. Click here to bet.
|Friday 27th February|
|19:45||Northampton vs Harlequins|
|Saturday 28th February|
|14:30||London Welsh vs London Irish|
|15:00||Saracens vs Newcastle Falcons|
|15:00||Leicester Tigers vs Sale Sharks|
|15:15||Exeter vs Bath|
|Sunday 1st March|
|13:00||Wasps vs Gloucester|
|Friday 6th March|
|19:45||Bath vs Sale|
|Saturday 7th March|
|15:00||Exeter vs London Welsh|
|15:00||Harlequins vs London Irish|
|15:15||Gloucester vs Northampton|
|Sunday 8th March|
|14:00||Wasps vs Saracens|
|15:00||Newcastle vs Leicester|
|Friday 27th March|
|19:45||Northampton vs Wasps|
|Saturday 28th March|
|15:00||London Irish vs Newcastle|
|15:00||Leicester vs Exeter|
|15:15||Saracens vs Harlequins|
|Sunday 29th March|
|14:00||Sale vs Gloucester|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Bath|
|Friday 10th April|
|19:45||Newcastle vs Bath|
|Saturday 11th April|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Gloucester|
|15:15||Saracens vs Leicester|
|Sunday 12th April|
|14:00||Exeter vs Northampton|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Wasps|
|15:00||London Irish vs Sale|
|Saturday 25th April|
|14:00||Sale vs Harlequins|
|Sunday 22nd February|
|London Irish 6 - 12 Leicester Tigers|
|Saturday 21st February|
|Bath 13 - 21 Northampton|
|Harlequins 21 - 32 Exeter|
|Gloucester 48 - 10 London Welsh|
|Sale Sharks 14 - 10 Saracens|
|Friday 20th February|
|Newcastle 23 - 23 Wasps|
|Sunday 15th February|
|Wasps 37 - 6 Harlequins|
|London Welsh 12 - 52 Sale|
|Saracens 34 - 24 Bath|
|Saturday 14th February|
|Exeter 46 - 17 Newcastle|
|Friday 13th February|
|Leicester 18 - 15 Gloucester|
|Northampton 15 - 9 London Irish|
|Sunday 11th January|
|London Irish 28 - 26 Exeter|
|Newcastle 38 - 7 London Welsh|
|Saturday 10th January|
|Harlequins 32 - 12 Leicester|
|Bath 39 - 26 Wasps|
|Sale Sharks 20 - 7 Northampton|
|Friday 9th January|
|Gloucester 24 - 23 Saracens|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com