Stuart Lancaster has told England’s wing sensation Chris Ashton that his ‘swallow dive’ celebration will not be banned. He told the winger that he can continue to use his trademark dive so long as it is not used to wind up England’s opponents.
Lancaster has given his team a stern talking to as to how he expects them to behave in the fall out from their embarrassing World Cup campaign.
Lancaster is said to have had a one on one meeting with Ashton ahead of the Six Nations, instructing him to respect opponents and to go about the game in the right way, whilst still permitting him the enjoyment of his swallow diving.
During the World Cup Martin Johnson forbade Ashton from doing his trademark celebration for fear of injury, but Lancaster clearly feels the risk is minimal enough to permit Ashton this particular bit of fun.
Lancaster’s decision to speak to his team about their on-field attitude comes in light of former England boss, now Scotland head coach, Andy Robinson’s comments regarding English “arrogance”. Robinson’s comments will add fuel to the fire of what is no doubt setting up to be a ferocious encounter between the two arch rivals.
Robinson commented that England had disrespected not only Scotland in the recent World Cup, but also many of their other opponents throughout the tournament. Ashton’s swallow dive could be seen as a boast or a sign of not taking the opposition seriously, but he will no doubt continue to use it as and when he wants.
Lancaster appears to be aiming for a respectful England side, but no doubt a successful one. He will love the thought of seeing Ashton crossing to score with a swallow dive several times in next week’s encounter and he will love the chance to get back at Robinson with a dominant, yet respectful victory. The latest 6 Nations betting online odds show that England are favourites.
It seems England are heading back to the mantra of Rugby being a sport played in the right way, respectful but full blooded.