Johnson will forgive Ashton for his swan dives

England manager has forgiven winger Chris Ashton for his flamboyant swan dives after the winger scored four tries against Italy.

The England team were given a dressing down during the week for celebrating before scoring tries. The England management said that they didn’t mind players celebrating after they had scored but not before as they might drop the ball or fail to ground the ball.

The Northampton wing received a pass from Toby Flood and raced towards the tryline in the third minute but just before he got to the posts he leapt into the air with a swan dive.

“I had such a long run-in for the first one I changed my mind a couple of times about whether to do it,” Ashton said after scoring nine tries in nine caps for England.

“Maybe it wasn’t the most appropriate time to do it – sorry but I just had to do it,” Ashton told Reuters.

“I knew he (Johnson) would be a bit annoyed – the lads said he would be – so thought I’d do it.”

If Johnson was going to give Ashton a blast for the swan dive the tryfest that followed must have calmed his nerves to the degree that even he was smiling at Ashton’s swan dive just before his fourth try.

“The boys gave him a whole heap of grief when we walked into the changing room but it’s okay, it’s a bit of fun,” Johnson said.

“I said I’d see him in the office first-thing on Tuesday. I knew he would do that one at the end.”

“We had no subs left, but I nearly put his number up anyway,” joked Johnson.

Ashton’s try haul broke a new record for the Six Nations as he became the first player to score four tries in a match since the Six Nations started in 2000 and he was the first England player to score four tries in a match since Ronald Poulton did in 1914 against France – a year before he was killed in World War 1.

The Six Nations record holder in all of its forms (Five Nations etc) is Scotland’s George Lindsay who scored five tries in 1887.

Ashton had no idea that he was on the field breaking records and said, “I didn’t think about any records.”

“I’ve only played only nine games for England so I don’t want to start talking about how good it was or anything like that,” Ashton said.

“Maybe if I get to play 50 games I’ll look back on it but at the moment I’m just glad to be in the team and I hope we carry on winning.”

Ashton could not have broken those record without help from his team-mates and on the whole it was an excellent team performance with special performances from Ben Youngs and Toby Flood.

Flood created Ashton’s first try when he found a hole in the Italian defence and also sent an inside pass to Mark Cueto for his try.

While Flood has cemented his place in the number 10 jersey he says he is happy to have Ashton around to finish off the breaks he creates.

“He’s always there hoping to score and that takes a huge work-rate,” he said of the rugby league convert who frequently comes off his wing to look for tries.

“He’s always there, inside, outside but always looking for it.”

Over the past year the England team have changed the game plan and the players have often said the mood in the camp is fantastic with plenty of joking.

Current stand in Captain Mike Tindall laughed off Ashton’s antics by saying,”It just proves that he clearly doesn’t think, that’s his personality.”

“It was probably the last thing he heard before he went on to the pitch and three minutes later he’s doing it.”

“But as everyone says, when you get four tries you can pretty much do what you want.”

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