Yarde miles better than England star Ashton, insists Exiles coach

LONDON Irish boss Brian Smith insists wing Marland Yarde is better than Chris Ashton and should be playing for England after he lifted London Irish away from the Aviva Premiership drop with a 30-19 win over London Wasps.

Fellow England wing hopeful Christian Wade crossed in the first half to cancel out a Shane Geraghty try and give Wasps a 16-14 half-time lead. But Yarde raced away after the restart and Tom Homer added 20 points as the Exiles overtook London Welsh to go 10th yesterday.

“Marland Yarde would not have been out of place playing for England this weekend,” said Smith.

“He’s the complete package. I can certainly see him breaking through this summer and having a 50-plus cap career. I think he is that good.

“I think Chris Ashton probably two years ago redefined the way wingers played in terms of coming off his wing and support play.

“But Chris Ashton can’t do what Marland can do. Chris Ashton does not want to get his hands dirty and do what Marland does and put his head over the ball, clean-out, jump for the ball, work defensively. I think he is a better player than Chris Ashton.”

On Saturday, David Strettle crossed twice as Saracens scored 26 unanswered points after half-time to win 32-17 at Leicester and take a giant stride towards a home semi-final in the play-offs. James Short and Chris Wyles also scored tries, and director of rugby Mark McCall said: “It was an incredible response.”

Friday saw Harlequins stay top with a 30-21 victory over bottom side Sale Sharks, but 24 hours later London Welsh were unable to capitalise on their fellow strugglers’ slip up as they fell to a 47-16 defeat at Exeter Chiefs.

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