Care: Ashton back in the mix

England scrum-half Danny Care has thrown his support behind Chris Ashton's claims for an international recall.

The Saracens wing was not selected for this year's Six Nations despite injuries to Marland Yarde and Christian Wade - England head coach Stuart Lancaster favouring youngsters Jonny May and Jack Nowell.

But following news that Nowell will miss the summer tour of New Zealand to undergo knee surgery and Ashton's two tries on the big stage of a Heineken Cup semi-final victory over Clermont, Care has championed the 27-year-old's case.

The Harlequins star said: "Chris was disappointed after missing out on the Six Nations and he's since shown what a wonderful player and finisher he is.

"Scoring 11 tries in the Heineken Cup this year is not a bad effort and he is pushing to get back in the England team.

Massively competitive

"I've played with Chris a fair few times and I know he's a massively competitive lad who wants to play for England as many times as he can.

"He dealt with the criticism he took really well. It's never easy to be turning up for England training and then going home every Tuesday.

"But he did it graciously, he did it with a smile on his face and helped out the other lads who were selected. He was the first one to congratulate Jonny and Jack.

"He's a true professional who did what you have to when you're not selected, which is to go away and try and prove people wrong. We have some brilliant wingers, but Chris is right up there at the moment.

"Saracens as a whole were outstanding. I thought before the match they'd win, but not by that scoreline. It was an unbelievable win."