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Ashton withdraws from England camp

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'I don't feel it is right for me to commit to being away in camp at this stage'

Chris Ashton has withdrawn from England’s training squad for family reasons. The 32-year-old winger will not be replaced in the squad that assembles at Pennyhill Park Hotel on Sunday.

Ashton, who has been capped 44 times for England, said: “When I returned from Toulon last season it was for two reasons – firstly for my family and secondly to try and realise the dream of playing for England again.

“Pulling on the white shirt is always special and I’m grateful to Eddie for giving me the opportunity to have done so again.

“My wife, Melissa, is pregnant with our second child and I don’t feel it is right for me to commit to being away in camp at this stage.

“In the meantime, I wish Owen (Farrell) and the boys all the very best with their preparation over the coming months.”

It was last Thursday when Eddie Jones announced his squad of 29 to attend the training camp at Pennyhill from June 23 to 27.

Alex Dombrandt (Harlequins), Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints), Ruaridh McConnochie (Bath Rugby) and Val Rapava Ruskin (Gloucester Rugby) received their first call up to an England senior men’s training squad.

Players attending the camp at Pennyhill Park will not have featured in the Gallagher Premiership semi-finals or final, outside of Ludlam and Rapava Ruskin.

Chris Robshaw and Danny Care were left out of the squad for the five-day camp in Surrey. Flanker Robshaw, 33, was England’s 2015 World Cup captain, but he last featured for his country a year ago, and 32-year-old scrum-half Care did not gain selection during last season’s Six Nations.

Bristol-bound number eight Nathan Hughes also missed out, and whether another absentee – Northampton hooker Dylan Hartley – is called into camp at any point this summer remains to be seen.

Hartley, who led England to Six Nations titles in 2016 and 2017, has not played for six months due to a knee problem and it is understood that he is still struggling with the issue.

WATCH: Part one of the two-part RugbyPass documentary on what fans can expect in Japan at this year’s World Cup

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'I don't feel it is right for me to commit to being away in camp at this stage'