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'Unbelievable': Early Chris Ashton strike breaks Premiership try record

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

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Former England winger Chris Ashton needed just four minutes of Saturday’s Leicester versus Bristol game to score the try that made him the all-time record try-scorer in Premiership history. The 35-year-old pulled level with Tom Varndell’s long-standing mark of 92 when he came up with a double during the Tigers’ March 27 win at Exeter.

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Ashton drew a blank during his cameo off the Leicester bench in last week’s defeat at Harlequins, his team’s first game in the Premiership since the victory at the Chiefs due to a bye-week in the league and the two Heineken Champions Cup matches against Clermont. 

However, chosen to start by Steve Borthwick against Bristol at Welford Road, the veteran quickly created history by getting on the end of a kick from Matias Moroni down the right-hand side. 

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Chris Ashton | Rugby Roots
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Chris Ashton | Rugby Roots

The record-breaking exploits of Ashton didn’t end there, either, as he soon pushed the record out to 95 tries with further scores on 24 and 28 minutes to help the league-leading Leicester forge their way into a 27-12 interval lead against the Bears. They went on to win 56-26.

It was February when Ashton linked up with Leicester following a frustrating spell at Worcester which ended in December, his former Saracens teammate Borthwick deciding that he could add additional firepower to enhance the Tigers’ bid for a Premiership and European double.  

After he equalled the record at Exeter, Ashton said: “There’s a word in the way – equal. I have spent since the age of five wanting to score tries, so it would be nice to leave the record behind. Yes, it would. But having spent time at home thinking that was it, I’m just grateful to be back out here playing and enjoying it. If the added bonus is that I do manage to go out on a high like that, I’ll be happy because that’s what I set out to do. I’m hoping that’s going to happen.”

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Having watched Ashton scoring his hat-trick at Leicester while commentating on the Gloucester versus Bath match for BT Sport, Ben Kay said: “Unbelievable. Not only that but most of the other people around him played all their careers in the Premiership. He came from rugby league, had a season over in the Top 14 and while he was there got the highest number of tries in any premier league in a season for his team, Toulon. Twenty-four in one season. You add those up, it’s pretty impressive.”

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