Sale Sharks winger Eddie Jones has revealed the reasons why he rejected the chance to join in England’s World Cup training squad back in June.
When Jack Nowell wrenched his knee playing for Exeter in the Premiership final on 1 June, Jones got on the phone to Ashton but the winger ultimately turned the Aussies down.
“It’s difficult being in camp so long and the intensity had come right up,” Ashton says.Embed from Getty Images
“It shocked me [during the Six Nations], what was involved – the time and the commitment is ridiculous.
“I didn’t mind because I wanted to play for England again. [But] after going back home, my wife got pregnant and she was due at World Cup final time, and I found it really difficult.”
He prevaricated until the last week of June and the very day before England’s main World Cup training camp began. “I couldn’t make my mind up,” says Ashton.
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“And in a roundabout way that meant I’d made the decision. The time spent away in the World Cup – some of the lads managed to have partners or wives there, but my wife wouldn’t have been able to travel.
“I thought ‘do I go and prove him [Jones] wrong, as all pros want to do?’ Or do I do what I was debating doing anyway. If I had been Jonny [May], and his age  too, I’d have had to have gone.”