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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.
Aviva Premiership Table
|Friday 5th September|
|19:45||Northampton vs Gloucester|
|Saturday 6th September|
|14:00||Sale vs Bath|
|14:00||Saracens vs Wasps|
|15:00||Leicester vs Newcastle|
|16:30||London Irish vs Harlequins|
|Sunday 7th September|
|14:00||London Welsh vs Exeter|
|Friday 12th September|
|19:45||Harlequins vs Saracens|
|Saturday 13th September|
|15:00||Gloucester vs Sale|
|15:00||Bath vs London Welsh|
|15:15||Exeter vs Leicester|
|Sunday 14th September|
|14:00||Wasps vs Northampton|
|15:00||Newcastle vs London Irish|
|Friday 19th September|
|19:45||Gloucester vs Exeter|
|Saturday 20th September|
|14:00||Sale vs London Welsh|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Wasps|
|15:00||London Irish vs Saracens|
|15:15||Bath vs Leicester|
|Sunday 21st September|
|14:00||Newcastle vs Northampton|
|Friday 26th September|
|19:45||London Welsh vs Gloucester|
|Saturday 27th September|
|15:00||Leicester vs London Irish|
|15:00||Saracens vs Sale|
|15:15||Northampton vs Bath|
|Sunday 28th September|
|14:00||Wasps vs Newcastle|
|14:00||Exeter vs Harlequins|
|Friday 3rd October|
|19:45||Bath vs Saracens|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com