Chris Ashton left out of Northampton side amid rift rumours

 

England wing Chris Ashton has been left out of the Northampton team for tomorrow's Heineken Cup clash against Munster in Milton Keynes.

Ashton, who started Saints' Pool One victory over the Scarlets last weekend, does not even make the replacements' bench.

There have been reports of a fall-out between Saints rugby director Jim Mallinder and Ashton, whose move to Northampton's Aviva Premiership rivals Saracens next season was confirmed by the Hertfordshire-based club yesterday.

Saracens said Ashton, 24, had agreed a "long-term contract," which ended speculation about his future next term.

In announcing their team for tomorrow's game, Saints gave no explanation for Ashton's absence, and there was no mention of him in their official club press release.

Jamie Elliott replaces him on the right wing, with three other changes from the Scarlets fixture seeing starts for centre James Downey, fly-half Ryan Lamb and scrum-half Lee Dickson.

It now remains to be seen how much more game time Ashton will receive with Saints this term.

He is expected to start England's RBS 6 Nations opener against Scotland at Murrayfield a fortnight tomorrow, but he could now find his opportunities with Northampton severely restricted.

"We had a good result at the Scarlets last week, and if we attack with the same intensity and defend with the same passion and determination then we will have a good chance against a tough Munster outfit," Mallinder said.

"We are definitely going into tomorrow's match with our minds focused very much on getting the win.

"We have had a good run recently and have some big matches coming up. We want to keep our momentum going."

PA

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk