Ashton explains France move

Saracens wing Chris Ashton has revealed that he decided to leave England after he was banned for biting Northampton prop Alex Waller.

The ban impacted on his international aspirations and while he still has a "burning desire" to play for his country, going to France will help close the door on his Test hopes that have not been fulfilled over recent campaigns, more recently under England head coach Eddie Jones.

"That was when I felt I needed to get out of England," he told BBC Sport, with the former rugby league wing joining Toulon from 2017/18.

"I enjoy it here but I always want to play for England and by going to France it took that out the picture," he told 5 live's Rugby Show.

He added that he'll always want to wear the England jersey but the move to France will help ease the pain of watching and not playing.

"It's hard to watch England, although now I've made my decision it's a lot easier," he said, with Saracens facing Glasgow in the Champions Cup on Sunday. "The burning desire is always there and always will be, it just changes its path slightly. Going to France takes that away."

"I can't feel hard done by, well obviously I can, but I think that was the easy option," Ashton added when speaking about his suspensions.

"I have put myself in those situations. It can look the way it looks because I have put myself in that place so there is definitely a responsibility on my side. Whether I agree with someone telling me I have done something or not is completely different."

While the door for England appears closed, his club boss Mark McCall has backed Ashton as a possible British and Irish Lions bolter. However, that is something the former Wigan player isn't overly confident about.

"I think that is just Mark being very nice to me," he said. "He is always a good guy and always been very supportive of me but I think he was just being very nice."