England against France may only be both sides 3rd out of 5 games in the 2011 Six Nations Championship, but it is already being spoken of as the tournament decider. Both sides have played 2 and won 2, with England being particularly impressive with a win in Wales and a thrashing of Italy at Twickenham.
The stand out player for England has been winger Chris Ashton. Not only did he become the first person to score 4 tries in a Six Nations match against Italy, he has also matched the Six Nations Championship record of 6 tries held by Shane Williams and Will Greenwood – and that’s with 3 games left to play.
However, Ashton has also managed to court controversy. His trademark ‘swallow dive’ try celebration has been deemed as too risky by many. Yet England manager Martin Johnson has implied that he doesn’t mind, as long as all goes well.
“We are not here to stamp on people’s personalities…yes I prefer him to get the ball down safely but he has done that. To be fair to Chris he did that twice in Cardiff and four times against Italy. If he scores against France and adheres to what I have told him, then great.”
Though if ‘Ash the Splash’ did ever drop the ball at a vital moment, it would be hard to imagine that Johnson, who the term ‘no-nonsense’ could have been invented for, would be very forgiving. As many who played against him would confirm, it is not wise to upset the former World Cup winning captain.
England play France on the 26th of February at Twickenham.
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