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Leicester confirm 'sound-out conversation' with Chris Ashton

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Getty Images)

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Leicester boss Steve Borthwick has confirmed that free agent Chris Ashton visited the Tigers training ground on Tuesday in the hope of potentially reigniting his career with the Gallagher Premiership leaders. The soon-to-be 35-year-old was released from his contract at Worcester in December and is now exploring ways to prolong his time in the game as a player.  

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Borthwick was an England assistant when Ashton won the last of his 44 Test caps under Eddie Jones and although his most recent club stints at Sale, Harlequins and Worcester all ended abruptly, the Leicester coach admitted at his weekly media briefing that he has plenty of time for Ashton who sits third on the list of all-time Premiership try-scorers.  

“We go a long way back,” said Borthwick to media on a day when seven contract extensions were confirmed at Leicester, including fresh terms for recently capped England pair Joe Heyes and Nic Dolly. “We played together many, many years ago. 

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“I met with him and had a chat just to see where he was at. It’s the first time I have spoken to him in a long time. It was really just a sound-out conversation.

“My experience of Chris is someone who is determined to win, very driven and very, very competitive. When I played with him, I always enjoyed that. It doesn’t always mean you are nice and pally. In a driven environment, it’s great to have those people.

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“That is the way I always found him when I was playing alongside him. That’s the way I found him playing against him. That’s what I heard from him when I coached against him in the England squad. I regard that competitiveness as a strength.

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“In terms of how and what has happened with other teams, I have no idea and not a huge amount of interest, to be honest. It’s none of my business. I just take the guy on what I see and had a chance to chat with him and catch up today.”

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