ENGLAND manager Martin Johnson has given star winger Chris Ashton the green light to continue his controversial ‘swallow dive’ celebration.
Ashton (right) was warned about showboating before last weekend’s RBS 6 Nations clash with Italy, but defied orders and dived over the line for two of his four tries.
“We are not here to stamp on peoples’ personalities,” said Johnson. “He is a good guy to have in the group and he is playing fantastically well. We want him to keep it up. It is not a big issue for us.” The danger of celebrating prematurely was spelled out by backs coach Brian Smith, who showed the squad a video of ex- London Irish forward Juan Leguizamon dropping the ball mid-dive. Johnson added: “All that was said in the team review was: ‘Get the ball down safely and if you can get it near the posts, get it near the posts’. Chris did that four times. I prefer him to get the ball down safely and he has done that.”
Centre Shontayne Hape, meanwhile, has backed his England colleague, saying Ashton has “been told off enough times”. He added: “We all know that if he is going to score four tries he can do whatever he wants.”