McCall stands by Ashton

Date published: May 24 2016

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Saracens boss Mark McCall has backed Chris Ashton's decision not to tour with the England Saxons as his "head wouldn't have been in the right place".

Ashton, who was left out of the senior squad which is set to travel to Australia, decided not to accept the call-up to the Saxons group.

There is speculation that his move not to tour to South Africa has ended his senior prospects, but McCall thinks it was an open decision.

"Obviously it was disappointing that Chris didn't get selected for Australia because he's done well for us since he's come back from his suspension," McCall told Press Association Sport on Tuesday.

"Eddie showed him a little bit of understanding as well, same as he did in the Joe Marler case. As far as I know the decision was made in conjunction with Eddie.

"Chris went through a lot in that 10-week period and has played really well since he's come back.

"His wife is expecting and is due to give birth towards the end of June, so for all sorts of reasons Chris' head wouldn't have been in the right place, so it was probably best that he didn't go."

Saracens and Ashton are currently preparing for this weekend's Premiership final against Exeter Chiefs. Ashton will be looking to continue his recent run of good form and in a fitness boost it appears fly-half Owen Farrell will be fit to start the game, as will centre Duncan Taylor.

"Owen's fine. He's got bit of an issue with his side and didn't train on Tuesday, but he'll be fine. He'll be training on Thursday," McCall said.

"Duncan Taylor took a bang to the head against Leicester and is doing his return to play protocols, but everything has gone according to plan so far and we expect him to train on Thursday as well."

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