Chris Ashton has left England with some pretty good achievements under his belt. Ashton holds the European club rugby try-scoring record and has also contributed to Saracens’ dominance at both domestic and European level over the past number of seasons.
In addition to this, his international record is pretty good, too. The rugby league convert has scored 19 tries in 39 Tests for England, that’s almost a try in every second game. However, the 30-year-old hasn’t played a game for England since summer 2014 and even though he has continued to show blistering form for his club, he has not been called up by Eddie Jones.
His move to Toulon has all but ended any hopes of him playing for England again but that doesn’t seem to concern Ashton as he looks to make his mark in the Top 14. There are many motivations for playing rugby in France – the weather and the culture are two overriding factors. From a financial perspective, it can be quite lucrative too but Ashton denies that this was the sole factor in his move and he refers to people who state this as the reason as “puppets”.
“It is certainly the same puppets who do not want to understand my decision to leave the Sarries … I would be lying if I said that playing in France has no advantage for the English, especially on the financial level,” Ashton told Midi Olympique.
“But, in reality, the wages offered to me in France were not so different from those I had in England. It is less the financial aspect than the new life experience that awaited me in France that motivated my decision. In my eyes, I had spent my time in England.”
Ashton can look forward to helping Toulon back to the top-table of both French and European rugby over the next three seasons.