England hopeful Chris Ashton has signed a new two-year contract with Northampton.
The 22-year-old former Wigan Warriors rugby league star, the leading Guinness Premiership try-scorer, was yesterday named in England's elite squad ahead of this season's RBS 6 Nations Championship.
And hot on the heels of that call-up comes a fresh deal at Franklin's Gardens.
Wing Ashton has collected 15 tries in 16 games this season, including nine in the Premiership, and has amassed 67 touchdowns from 62 Northampton starts since joining them two-and-a-half years ago.
"The Saints has been a great club to be a part of over the past couple of years," he said.
"It was a hard year last year as I came to terms with the Premiership, but the coaches stuck with me and are helping me get better at rugby union.
"I am still learning though, and I believe I can improve a lot.
"It's exciting to be at a club that is going places. We are ambitious to be one of the top clubs in England and in Europe, and we can only get better over the next few years."
Saints rugby director Jim Mallinder believes Ashton is benefiting from the hard work he has put in since Northampton gained promotion back to the Premiership in 2008.
"Chris has worked very hard on his game, especially over the past 18 months," said Mallinder.
"After a fantastic season in National League One, he had a quiet first year in the Premiership.
"But he spent a lot of time learning the game and honing the small details that didn't get found out at the lower level, and he is starting to reap the benefits now.
"He is both a natural finisher and a good reader of where an attack is going, so that if support is needed he is there to provide it.
"At 22, he is still a young player with plenty to offer, and I am delighted that he has decided to stay and be a part of the Saints."Reuse content