Ashton criticises Premiership's failure to fill Euro void

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
English Premiership rugby ball
English Premiership rugby ball
Getty Images

Harlequins and England wing Chris Ashton is unhappy at the decision to take a two-week break rather than fill the gap left by the postponement of European club games with English Premiership matches instead.

Both the European Champions Cup and second-tier European Challenge Cup have been suspended after the French government effectively barred their clubs from taking part in cross-border competitions because of concerns over the spread of the coronavirus.

Rob Baxter, director of rugby at English champions Exeter, was one of several Premiership coaches to call for domestic league fixtures to be brought forward in a season where Covid-19 has already led to several cancellations.

But Premiership Rugby decided the gap in the schedule would be best utilised by implementing a break on welfare grounds.

Ashton, however, disagreed.

"It's not ideal for us as players," Ashton told the BBC's Rugby Union Weekly podcast.

"We were due to play anyway so I don't think it matters what competition it is, if it was European or carrying on in the Premiership.

"The last thing teams want is to go two weekends without a game. We need game time and need to keep playing, it just makes the competition healthy and keeps everyone fit and firing," added Ashton, who won the last of his 44 England caps in 2019.

There are also concerns that a break now could leave some England players who won't have played for a month or more ahead of the reigning champions Six Nations opener against Scotland at Twickenham on February 6.

"It's not ideal for us as players, but as always we will train for the next two weeks and try to put that in when we get back to playing," said Ashton.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
loading... Live
Brentford 1
Leicester City 0
loading... Live
Fulham 0
Burnley 0
loading... Live
Warriors 132/8
Lions 210/10
loading... Live
SuperSport United 0
loading... Live
Cape Town City 1
Lamontville Golden Arrows 2
Voting Booth
What is your favourite sport to watch on TV?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
41% - 11433 votes
12% - 3300 votes
19% - 5157 votes
3% - 693 votes
1% - 269 votes
2% - 641 votes
5% - 1412 votes
8% - 2338 votes
3% - 926 votes
Water sports
1% - 246 votes
American sports
1% - 336 votes
3% - 901 votes