Chris Ashton described his try-scoring return to the international fold – in front of his family – was “an emotional” experience despite England’s defeat to New Zealand.
The former Warriors star marked his first Test appearance in four years with a second-minute touchdown, although it wasn’t enough to prevent the All Blacks sneaking a 16-15 victory at Twickenham on Saturday.
“It was very special, I tried to not take too much notice of it because you can’t really play rugby with emotion but if I sit and think about it definitely was an emotional day for me,” the former Orrell St James junior told the RFU website.
“It’s been a long journey to get back to this point.
“It was special to have my family at the game, so it was a proud moment for me and my family. I’m always happy to get a try, that’s my job, we started really well, put them under pressure and took our opportunities.
“We did well to manage them, we stayed in it until the end, but credit to them they don’t give penalties away.
“The overriding emotion is one of real disappointment. It’s hard for us to take but it’s a performance we can be really proud of.”
Fellow Wiganer Owen Farrell also contributed five points, with a conversion and a drop goal.
But it wasn’t enough for England, who face Japan this weekend.