Amid all the euphoria surrounding Chris Ashton’s remarkable introduction to Test rugby, his England team-mate Mark Cueto issued some words of caution.
Ashton became the first Englishman to score four tries in a Five or Six Nations international since Ronald Poulton achieved the feat against France in 1914.
Having also touched down twice in England’s victory over Wales, Ashton has already equalled the record for one Six Nations campaign held by Will Greenwood (2001) and Shane Williams (2008).
The 23-year-old Northampton wing, who only made his Test debut in the final game of last year’s championship, now has a remarkable nine tries from nine Tests and he is riding the crest of a wave.
Six years ago Cueto made a similar impact on international rugby but his feast of eight tries in eight Tests soon turned to famine as defences got wise.
Cueto has warned Ashton he will have to deal with the challenges of being a marked man - starting against France at Twickenham in two weeks’ time.
“Teams start to target you and they will maybe throw extra defenders (at Ashton),” said Cueto, who ended an 18-Test try drought in Saturday’s 59-13 victory over Italy. The Italians were already quick to pick up on our support lines.
“There was once or twice when Ashy got pulled back when potentially he was going to score another try.
“Whenever you do your analysis on the teams you come up against you pick out the threats and without a shadow of a doubt, teams will be looking at Ashy.
“He has scored six tries in two games and is the out-and-out threat with England at the minute so he will be put under a lot of pressure.”
That said, Cueto believes the unique way Ashton reads the game will make him very difficult to stop.
“There is an art to what he does and it is unbelievable. He just anticipates everything,” said Cueto.
Other results - Scotland 6 Wales 24, Ieland 22 France 25.