Chris Ashton: 'England not far away from All Blacks'

Chris Ashton believes that England are not far away from the level for World champions New Zealand.

England are close to World champions New Zealand despite losing 30-22 to the All Blacks earlier this month, according to Chris Ashton.

The Northampton winger is adamant that the way Stuart Lancaster's side clawed their way back into the game after trailing 17-3 in the first half is a feat few sides could match.

Ashton is quoted by Clubcall as saying: "I think they've just got that little bit of class ahead – [Ma'a] Nonu's offload for the [Julian] Savea try was unbelievable for them to win the game - and I think they showed again on the weekend [against Ireland] why they are the best team.

"But I don't think we are too far away from them. Of course we'll be disappointed with the loss - but overall I think we'll be very happy with how the three games went."

England are currently fourth in the IRB world rankings, behind the All Blacks, South Africa and Australia.

Saracens' Chris Ashton in action against Cornish Pirates on August 22, 2013
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