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Page last updated at 22:50 GMT, Thursday, 17 February 2011

England wing Chris Ashton defends his try celebrations

Chris Ashton

Ashton runs in four England tries

England wing Chris Ashton has no qualms about his flamboyant swallow-dive try celebration and could perform it again against France a week on Saturday.

The England management had warned the 23-year-old of the risks of dropping the ball in a flying one-handed finish.

But Ashton did it for two of his four tries in England's 59-13 Six Nations victory over Italy on Saturday.

And the Northampton player said: "I don't see why you shouldn't be able to celebrate in the way you want to."

He added: "It is right to celebrate tries. Scoring tries is what I want to do playing rugby.

"It's just something that happened and that's the end of it.

"Everybody dives, everybody scores tries the way they want to score tries. I just happened to do that and it has run away with itself a bit."

Ashton performed his flamboyant celebration in England's opening two Six Nations victories over Wales in Cardiff and Italy at Twickenham.

We are not here to stamp on people's personalities - he is a good guy to have in the group and he is playing fantastically well

England manager Martin Johnson

England team-mate Toby Flood had revealed that Ashton had received a "tongue-lashing" after the win over Wales with manager Martin Johnson unhappy with, among other things, the spectacular dive for his first try.

The England squad were shown a video of former London Irish forward Juan Leguizamon dropping the ball over the line while attempting similar theatrics.

But although Ashton vowed to end his showboating ahead of Italy's visit to Twickenham, his promise lasted 127 seconds and he repeated the trick for his final try.

England boss Johnson missed the first finish against Italy - but he was laughing in the stands when Ashton wrapped up an eight-try rout.

"We are not here to stamp on people's personalities," Johnson said. "He is a good guy to have in the group and he is playing fantastically well.

"We want him to keep it up. It is not a big issue for us. Underneath all the fun-guy stuff he is a pretty serious rugby player."

Easter pushes Ashton over for his third try
Nick Easter pushes Ashton over for his third against Italy

Ashton became the first England player to score four tries in a Five/Six Nations match since 1914 during the game against Italy.

He has, however, admitted that his late father Kevin would not have approved of his swallow-dive.

"My mum is worried about me dropping the ball and if my dad was here, he would be very unhappy about me doing the dive - very, very unhappy," he said.

"But if the chance comes again? I don't know, we will have to wait and see. It was just a spur-of-the-moment thing and that's how it will stay.

"As long as I get the ball down, they won't be too bothered."

The player has received some ribbing from his England team-mates over the attention his dive has generated - but they are happy to see it.

"We all know that if he is going to score four tries he can do whatever he wants," said centre Shontayne Hape.

"Ashy's got a great record. If he keeps playing like that he'll be one of the best."

England play France on Saturday 26 February at 17:00.



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see also
England upturn 'too late' for Cup
17 Feb 11 |  English
Ashton has the X-factor - Lindsay
16 Feb 11 |  Northampton
England 59-13 Italy
12 Feb 11 |  Rugby Union
Ashton 'swallow dives' to opening try
12 Feb 11 |  Rugby Union
Teams will target Ashton - Cueto
13 Feb 11 |  English
Ashton rebuked after England win
09 Feb 11 |  Rugby Union
Wales 19-26 England
04 Feb 11 |  Rugby Union


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