Ashton eager to punish Aussies

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Chris Ashton will be desperate to inflict more misery on Australia after being forced to watch Charlie Sharples shine for England in his self-inflicted absence.

That is the view of England head coach Stuart Lancaster, who has been left with a selection poser after Sharples took his opportunity against Fiji with two tries in a 54-12 victory on Saturday.

England scored seven touchdowns in total but Ashton missed out on the chance to break his international duck for 2012 because he was suspended, having collected three yellow cards for dangerous play.

But Ashton, who has scored three tries in three Tests against Australia, is available as England go in search of a third consecutive win against the Wallabies.

Everything points to his immediate return to the side, with Sharples and Ugo Monye competing for the other wing berth - and Ashton will come back with a point to prove.

“Chris was desperately disappointed to miss this game (against Fiji),” Lancaster said.

“He likes scoring tries and, if anything, this will fuel his hunger and desire to get back into the side. It was a tough lesson to learn.

“We all know the quality of Chris Ashton. He has been one of the in-form players, both in the Premiership this season and since I have been involved with England.

“Australia are a top-three side and we recognise the quality of players we will need to beat them.”

Ashton was warned to work on his tackling technique by the disciplinary officials who banned him, which he has done with England coach Andy Farrell.

Lancaster has also spoken to him about the need for self-control and discipline. Two of the yellow cards were for late charges and one for a dangerous tackle.

But neither of those issues will count against Ashton’s selection to face the Wallabies, against whom he scored one of the great Twickenham tries in 2010.

“He has done some work on this with Andy. We know his quality, he tracks the ball well and he is a great finisher. We don’t ignore what he has done in the past,” Lancaster said.

Sharples went into the Fiji game with no expectations of unseating Ashton from the team, given he is England’s most prolific try-scorer with 15 from 26 Tests.

But the Gloucester wing made a strong case to be Ashton’s wing man against the Wallabies with an impressive two-try performance.

“I wasn’t expecting one good performance to push ‘Ashy’ out when he has played exceptionally well for England for the last couple of years,” Sharples said. “My goal was to do the best I could and put a bit of competition on him.”