Chris Ashton spurred on by British and Irish Lions rejection

Chris Ashton says that being snubbed by the British and Irish Lions has fired him up to become a lynchpin for Saracens and England this season.

Saracens winger Chris Ashton has expressed his determination to become a main man for club and country following a summer of rejection.

The 26-year-old missed out on a place in the British and Irish Lions squad for the tour of Australia and was rested for England's trip to South America shortly after.

Ashton scored the only try of the game as Saracens beat Harlequins 22-12 in the Aviva Premiership on Saturday and is eager to become a key player.

"I was sitting at home watching the Lions and England tours and it was difficult viewing. That spurs you on that little bit more," Ashton told reporters. "Last year did not go the way I wanted it to and I was ready to change things. I like to think I'm starting to do that.

"I may have got down last year but it's rugby and I do it because I enjoy it. I had to get back to enjoying it and this season I am. I wanted to be involved in the summer but having a rest mentally was probably a good thing.

"It was time to sit at home and let other lads have a go. It gave England a good chance to look at some other lads. They played well and it was tough to watch, but I was glad to get the rest."

Ashton has scored two tries in his last few matches.

Steve Borthwick of Saracens catches in the line out during the Aviva Premiership match between Harlequins and Saracens at Twickenham Stoop on September 28, 2013
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