Aviva Premiership

Returning Ashton keen to make up for lost time

Saracens wing Chris Ashton is raring to make up for lost time as he prepares to make his comeback from a 10-week ban against Bath on Friday.

Ashton was found guilty of making contact with the eyes of Ulster's Luke Marshall during a European Champions Cup clash in January and his suspension was upheld after a lost appeal.

The ban ended Ashton's hopes of a return to the England team and he had to watch on as Eddie Jones' men completed a Six Nations Grand Slam.

And Ashton is now focused on returning to top form starting when Premiership leaders Saracens visit the Rec on Friday.

"I'm obviously very happy to be back involved. It's been a long 10 weeks to sit and watch rugby so I can't wait to get out there on Friday night," he told Saracens' official website.

"When you know you're playing at the weekend you have a different kind of feel to training, and that's a feeling I've missed in these last 10 weeks.

"The mental side of it is something I've put to one side and as I just wanted to concentrate on training and helping the lads prepare." 

Bath can also welcome an England international back to their line-up, with lock Dave Attwood playing for the first time in 2016 after undergoing neck surgery in January.

Attwood goes head-to-head with George Kruis and Maro Itoje, who starred in England's Grand Slam, and he is particularly relishing the duel with the Sarries forwards.

"It's an extra level of pressure and motivation," Attwood told the Bath Chronicle. "Between them, George and Maro were probably the two standout players of the Six Nations for England.

"Potentially squaring up against them on Friday is a good motivator, but it's difficult to get too focused on individuals because Saracens are a tremendously strong team."