Ashton 'desperate' to secure a return to Saints

Chris Ashton is 'desperate' to secure a switch back to Saints, according to his former team-mate Jim Hamilton.

Chris Ashton
Chris Ashton

Ashton, who turns 34 in March, was a huge hit during his time at Franklin's Gardens, scoring tries for fun as he helped the club return to England's top flight after a cross-code switch from Wigan in 2007.

He struck up a formidable backline partnership with Ben Foden as Saints made it to the Heineken Cup final in 2011.

But Saracens came calling ahead of the 2012/13 campaign and Ashton opted to move on.

He became a key figure for Saracens as they claimed several major trophies before he headed off for spells at Toulon, Sale and, currently, Harlequins.

But Ashton, who has notched 20 tries in 44 Test appearances for England, now appears keen to return to the club at which he made his rugby union name.

And Hamilton, who played alongside Ashton at Saracens, told The Rugby Pod: "He is desperate to go to Northampton is what I heard. That is where he is living now.

"It’s a difficult one for him – 34 (in March), he had an absolute shocker against Racing. He was awful but he is still a good player.

“Someone like Ashy, who is 34, can score tries, can’t catch a high ball – comes off his forehead – has been around the block a bit, and has left contracts.

"He left Saracens when he was under contract to go to Toulon.

“He left Toulon under contract, goes to Sale. Left Sale under contract. He’s now at Quins and it looks like they are not going to offer him a longer deal.

“You’re thinking, well how much does a Chris Ashton want? Well, he’d want £200K, £250K. He might get offered £150K, a bit less.

“If you’re a Northampton or a Worcester or whoever, are you best placed to try and bring an academy player through and fill the void with the money that you have got?."

Saints' wing options currently include Taqele Naiyaravoro, Tom Collins, Ahsee Tuala and Ollie Sleightholme, all of whom signed contract extensions during the 2019/20 season.