English wing Chris Ashton is causing a bit of a fuss over in the UK. His 4 try performance against Italy at the weekend, taking his try tally to 9 in 9 games, is seeing him being heralded as the “best wing on the planet” at the moment.
He also cracked the nod for the IRB’s best try in 2010 award for that try against the Aussies at Twickenham.
Not a bad start to an international career at all.
On the flip side he’s also being labelled as a bit of a show pony, or more simply a prick for his try celebrations. Maybe that should be called his “pre try celebrations” because it’s the massive “hero dive” for the line before touching down that seems to be rubbing some people the wrong way.
Apparently it’s too flashy for rugby, disrespectful to the opposition and too early in Ashtons’ career for him to be acting like he’s God’s gift to the game. Personally I think it’s all just another storm in a tea cup. It seems to be quite fashionable these days for wings to burst onto the scene, scoring tries at ease, before they lose form and drift off into obscurity. I say let Chris have his fun right now, plus it’s going to be quite outstanding when he eventually drops the ball in mid flight.
I’m all for individual try celebration routines and think that rugby players could learn a thing or two from their football brothers.
I’m thinking “The Beast” doing “the worm”, Pedrie snorting the try line (ala Robbie Fowler in his Liverpool days), Bekker could do some pelvic thrusts at the corner flag and Bakkies could just headbutt the post. If Januarie ever scores for the Boks again I think it would be quite appropriate for Peter de Villiers to do a little moonwalk along the touchline. Now that would be “total rugby”.