CHRIS ASHTON WILL complete his anticipated move from Northampton Saints to Saracens at the end of this season, the England winger confirmed this morning.
Ashton’s contract with the Saints expires this summer, and the 24-year-old’s desire to switch to Premiership rivals Saracens has been an open secret ever since he refused to open talks on a new deal at Franklin’s Gardens.
Ashton broke his silence to confirm the move this morning, not long after The Telegraph ran reports of a training ground row which he had with Northampton’s director of rugby Jim Mallinder yesterday.
“I’ve decided to join Saracens from next season,” Ashton tweeted this morning. “Until then it’s all about Saints.”
The Telegraph reports that Ashton stormed out of yesterday’s training session after he informed Mallinder of his decision to join Saracens in a deal thought to be worth £250,000 a year over the next three seasons.
It now looks highly unlikely that the winger will feature in Northampton’s final Heineken Cup pool game against Munster in Milton Keynes this weekend.
Though the Irish province have already guaranteed their place in the knockout stages, they still need a win to boost their chances of home quarter-final, and Mallinder had promised to field his strongest side in attempt to score some face-saving revenge for defeat in Thomond Park in November.
If Ashton is left on the bench, England U20 international Jamie Elliott is Mallinder’s most obvious option for a direct replacement.