Planet Rugby

Ashton not a bad defender - Gustard

03rd April 2013 10:46


Chris Ashton Sarries 2013

Happier: Chris Ashton

Saracens coach Paul Gustard has defended wing Chris Ashton over criticism of his defensive skills in recent weeks.

Ashton's missed tackles during the Six Nations and a sin-binning for a high tackle against Harlequins two weeks ago have brought his technique under the spotlight, but Gustard, who will coach England in Argentina this summer, has defended the winger.

"Chris is not a bad defender. Occasionally he misses a tackle but so what, everyone does," said Gustard to the Guardian.

"You can either focus on somebody's negatives or their positives. Over the last two weeks Chris has performed really well for Saracens. A year ago he was a world-class winger and a shoo-in for the Lions.

"He had an unbelievable try-scoring record for Northampton and scored a few tries for us at the start of the season. He gives us something different and he's a threat, even if the tries have dried up for a month or two. He's still an unbelievably dangerous player. He has more to his armoury than just scoring tries."

"Charlie had a bad defensive reputation before he came to Saracens but the stats show he's our third highest tackler.

"We've got a 'Wolf Board' listing our best defenders and Ashy's name is there this week. Your 'Wolfness' relates to your ability to knock somebody down and Chris was high up. At this club you'll never be vilified for a mistake, only a lack of effort."

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