Saracens signing Streather’s excited by Ashton’s presence in Premiership 7s side

Saracens' Chris Ashton (right) in action against Wasps in the J.P. Morgan Premiership Rugby 7s tourn

Saracens' Chris Ashton (right) in action against Wasps in the J.P. Morgan Premiership Rugby 7s tournament at Allianz Park. - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Saracens’ new signing Tim Streather believes that the presence of England winger Chris Ashton in the J.P. Morgan Premiership 7s side underlines the growing importance of the competition in the pre-season schedule.

Sarries have progressed to the finals day in Bath on Friday, having capitalised on their home advantage at Allianz Park to beat London Irish (24-12) and Wasps (21-17).

Having already qualified, the hosts lost their final match against Harlequins (24-21) to finish as the runners-up in Group C.

It was centre Streather’s first taste of action in a Saracens shirt after his arrival from Nottingham, having been named the Championship Player of the Year last season – and he out-scored Ashton by two tries to one at his new home.

However, Ashton has been named in England’s senior elite player squad along with five other Saracens stars, despite suggestions he could be dropped – and the 26-year-old’s presence in Saracens’ Premiership 7s side told Streather all he needed to know about the club he has joined and the strength of the tournament.

“It has to mean something to put boys of that profile out, so it’s definitely gone up in people’s eyes and, fingers crossed, we can get some silverware at the first chance of asking,” said the 25-year-old.

“The emphasis on it seems to be increasing year after year. I played in it three years ago and it has definitely gone up another level.

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“You are seeing more high-profile players in it each year and it does mean a lot to the boys.

“We really wanted to win [at home] and we are pretty gutted that we didn’t, so I think all of the teams will be gunning to win at Bath.”

Sarries will do battle against Harlequins, Leicester Tigers, Newcastle Falcons, Worcester Warriors, Bath and Gloucester on Friday for the chance to claim the season’s first piece of silverware.

Streather is aware that the cup ranks highly on the club’s wish-list after two barren campaigns without a trophy.

Having already confirmed his move to Saracens at the end of last season, he watched as Toulon ended their Heineken Cup dream – and Northampton Saints then upset the odds by dishing out their first defeat at Allianz Park in the Premiership play-off semi-final.

Streather said: “Everyone is really driven. I’ve just come into it so I don’t know what it was like at the time, but you can still see there’s a bit of hurt from that.

“I have to say, when I was watching them, I thought they’d go on and do it because they were playing fantastic rugby. That [defeat] is a huge drive for the boys involved.”

As for his ambitions, Streather said: “I want to play as much as possible.

“If you look at the back line at Sarries, it’s fantastic. Pretty much all of them are internationals, so it’s a huge task ahead of me to try to push in to it, but I haven’t come here to hold a bag. I want to push, start and improve as a player, so that will be my main goal this year.

“I’ll knuckle down, learn from players and try to play as much rugby as possible.”