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Ashton in action.

Chris Ashton set to leave Saracens and join Toulon

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English winger Chris Ashton is set to leave Saracens at the end of the 2016/17 season after a five-year spell at the club.  

Ashton described the move as 'easily the hardest decision I've made,' but felt that the opportunity to play in France was 'too good to turn down.'

He will be joining the French club Toulon and announced the news on Twitter today. 

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The main consequence of the move will be on Ashton's international career, which will almost certainly end due to England's policy on using overseas players. England will only pick overseas-based players in exceptional circumstances.

The winger has had disciplinary problems this season, missing out on the Six Nations tournament after receiving a 10-week ban. He will also be left out of Eddie Jones' squad as a result of a biting offence, which has ruled him out until December.

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Ashton has been capped 39 times, and is unlikely to be adding to that, but has highlighted his commitment to Saracens and the fans for the remainder of the season.

He said: 'I owe a debt of thanks to the club and management but most of all the Saracens fans. My focus remains on giving my all to Sarries for the remainder of the season.'

During his time at the club, Ashton has become the club's record try scorer, as well as adding two Premiership titles and a European Champions Cup.

Saracens v Northampton Saints - Aviva Premiership

Internationally his career can be seen to have been cut short with the move, but, in reality, he was highly unlikely to play under Eddie Jones, according to BBC Rugby expert Chris Jones.

Ashton will embark on a fresh start in France and leaves Saracens on good terms after thanking the Director of Rugby Mark McCall for negotiating his move and ultimately terminating the remainder of his contract.

McCall was full of praise for the English winger: "We would like to thank Chris for his contribution to Saracens over the last five seasons and the role he played in helping us create some incredible memories during that period."

After making the announcement on his official Twitter page, plenty of rugby fans were quick to wish him luck for the future.

The 29-year-old has agreed a deal which will keep him at Toulon until 2020.

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Topics:
Jonny Wilkinson
England Rugby
South Africa Rugby
Australia Rugby
New Zeland Rugby
Chris Ashton
Rugby Union
Dan Carter

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