Saracens announce Ashton signing

Picture by Linda Dawson

Picture by Linda Dawson

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Saracens have announced the signing of England wing Chris Ashton on what they describe as a “long-term contract”.

Ashton will move to the reigning English champions from their Aviva Premiership rivals Northampton for the start of next season.

It ends weeks of speculation surrounding Ashton’s future. He joined Northampton from Wigan rugby league club and featured in England’s failed World Cup campaign last autumn.

In a brief statement, Saracens said: “Chris Ashton has signed a long-term contract with Saracens, and the England wing will join the north London club at the start of the 2012/13 season.”

And a club spokesman added: “We are obviously especially delighted, but for now, Chris remains a Northampton player.

“Out of respect for Saints, Saracens will not make any further comment on the matter.”

There is speculation that 24-year-old Ashton will be left out of the Northampton side for their Heineken Cup clash against Munster in Milton Keynes on Saturday.

It has been reported today that Ashton’s relationship with Saints rugby director Jim Mallinder has deteriorated.

Ashton, who only recently returned to action following a four-week suspension, played against the Scarlets last weekend and he is expected to retain his England place in their RBS 6 Nations opener against Scotland at Murrayfield on February 4.