France reveal plan to halt Chris Ashton threat
Tuesday 22 February 2011
France defence coach Dave Ellis has revealed plans are already in place to stop Chris Ashton in Saturday's clash with England at Twickenham.
Northampton wing Ashton has made a superb start to the RBS 6 Nations, with six tries in England's opening two matches - two against Wales and four as Italy buckled in London.
That makes him the obvious threat to France, who like England have begun their campaign with two wins, and Ellis has confirmed stopping Ashton is a priority.
Ellis is confident France have the defensive resources to stymie the supply to 23-year-old Ashton, as they did with a previous England try machine.
"Ashton can be stopped," Ellis said in the Daily Telegraph.
"We used to stop Jason Robinson from scoring. You've just got to make sure that he doesn't get the ball when he wants it.
"It's not just about closing one man down. If you concentrate on doing that, then it only takes away your focus from elsewhere.
"Ashton is a finisher, just like Jason was, or Shaun Edwards and Ellery Hanley were in rugby league before them. It's inbred in rugby league players."
Ashton was prised away from the 13-man game by Northampton in 2007 after he shone as a teenager for Wigan Warriors, and his scoring exploits for Northampton persuaded the England management to bring him into the international fold last year.
Ellis admires Ashton's understanding of his team-mates' movement, and instinctive awareness of where try-scoring chances are like to arise.
"First and foremost, you've got to stop giving England decent ball," Ellis said.
"Italy gave them far too much. They just let them play. They were allowed to play at their own tempo. We won't let them do that."
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