- England wing Chris Ashton looks ahead to RWC
- It’s got to be full-on on Saturday – Ashton
Chris Ashton is desperate to get Rugby World Cup 2011 started, and after a pre season without much time on the pitch the England wing admits he’ll only get to full match sharpness in the tournament environment.
The Northampton Saints man spent the first part of pre season recovering from a knee operation and was pencilled in to start the second warm-up clash with Wales in Cardiff before damaging his ankle in training.
The 24-year-old enjoyed a sensational start to his international career, with nine Tests yielding as many tries, and he feels he is approaching that level of form once again, in training at least.
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Speaking exclusively to RFU.com, Ashton said: “Fortunately I did get one game under my belt which I think I needed to knock that rust off and get used to the timing of play.
“It was good to do that, it wasn’t the best game for the back three, we didn’t get much ball, but sometimes the games go like that and a win is a win. If every game in this tournament ends up like that I’ll take it.
“I feel good in training but playing is always a bit different and you’ve got to get used to it. That’s normally what the warm-up games are for but they’ve gone now. There isn’t any option, it’s got to be full-on on Saturday.”
Argentina are England’s first opponents and Ashton holds Santiago Phelan’s side in the highest regard after their recent world cup record, with the Pumas twice beating hosts France to finish third in 2007.
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Although the rugby league convert believes their blend of physicality and unpredictability will provide a stern opening test, Ashton says England will be ready for whatever Argentina throw at them.
The former Wigan Warrior said: “They like to play rugby and they’ve got a big pack, they’re an aggressive team and they often do well in this tournament. Having them first game up is going to be a big ask, the first game is always the hardest game, everyone is up for it and it sets the tone for the tournament.
“They are difficult to plan for because they like to play rugby, they’ve got the people who can do that in the right places and they’ve also got the lads who can throw themselves around in defence.
“It’s hard to play against but you’ve got to study that and be ready for every move they are going to make. We’ll be ready.”