Harlequins have signed English winger Chris Ashton, following his departure from Sale Sharks.

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Ashton joins Harlequins with immediate effect and will be reunited with a number of former England teammates including Danny Care, Mike Brown and Joe Marler.

The 32-year-old scored 20 tries in 44 England Tests, with his last international cap coming in February 2019. The former Saracens, Toulon and Northampton winger is the Premiership’s third highest ever try-scorer with 86 and switched codes from rugby league to union in 2007.

Upon joining Harlequins, Ashton said: “I can’t wait to get started at Quins. It is a Club filled with incredibly experienced and talented players. When I spoke to Gussy and heard more about the direction the Club is going in, and what it means to be a Harlequin, I knew that this was the right move for me.

“I know lots of the lads at Quins, like Danny, through our England careers and years of friendship. I like the look of what Quins are doing, they are growing a strong squad and the foundations for future success are in place.

“I know that I have still got a lot to give on the pitch and I am confident that being at Quins will enable me to continue scoring tries and help me with my aspirations of reaching 100 Premiership tries, beating the current record.”

Paul Gustard, Head of Rugby at Harlequins said: “We are delighted that ‘Ashy’ has decided to commit his future to Harlequins. I have known Chris for around eight years now and he is without doubt one of the most competitive, professional and dedicated athletes I have encountered. His drive to succeed and win is exceptional, allied to his desire to improve and be the best version of himself he can be has always been clear.

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“We were very interested in Chris when he was looking to move back to the UK, but unfortunately we were not in a position to compete 28 months ago. However, circumstances change and timings can sometimes work in mysterious ways, meaning we were able to get our man. We have four of our senior back three players currently unavailable with injury and therefore to bring Chris to the Club is a big boost to the squad.

“The Quins supporters will of course be aware of his prowess on the field and let’s be frank, astonishing try scoring record across all competitions and leagues. This is down to not only his skill, but equally also founded on his incredible work ethic. What they will not be aware of is that he is a loving family man with two beautiful kids and will add significant value to our group through his presence. I have no doubt he will also help to drive and develop our exceptionally talented young wings in Cadan and Gabs.

“I am sure the Quins faithful will show their love for Chris on the field and show their respect to him, his wife Melissa and their family off it. It is a great signing for us and adds to the quality that we have at the Club. On behalf of all at Quins, welcome Ashy.”

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