Black or white? I don't care if we play in pyjamas, declares Ashton

Chris Ashton, the Northampton wing whose try-scoring exploits are generally accompanied by a series of dives that would knock Tom Daley clean off the 10 metre board, was quite honest about it.

"Players don't think about kit," he declared, shortly after modelling the England strip for the forthcoming World Cup. He will therefore remain blissfully unaware that the new get-up – some of it white and some of it, much to the fury of the New Zealand hosts, quite the opposite – is constructed from a "sweat-management fabric" and has a hemline equipped with a silicone gripper, which sounds rather painful to those uninitiated in the mysteries of sportswear tailoring.

When England take the field at Twickenham in their black "change" strip on Saturday, the roses on the players' left breasts will be made of recycled yarn and the shorts will feature a "flock hand dry print", whatever that may be. Ashton seemed ignorant of this too, even though he was actually wearing the kit – fittingly, he was also sporting a black eye. "It wouldn't worry me if we played in pyjamas," he pronounced, gloriously off-message. His catwalk days may well be over.

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