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Leicester statement: Chris Ashton has joined with immediate effect

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)

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Steve Borthwick’s Leicester have signed former England international Chris Ashton on a short-term deal eight days after the free-agent turned up at Tigers’ Oval Park training ground for a catch-up chat with his old Test level assistant coach. The soon-to-be 35-year-old was released from his contract at Worcester in December and was exploring ways to prolong his time in the game as a player.   

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Borthwick said last week about the visit by Ashton: “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.”

Impressed by what he heard from a player whose recent stints at the Warriors, Harlequins and Sale all ended prematurely, Borthwick decided it would be in the best interests of Leicester to take a punt on Ashton with the Gallagher Premiership season heading towards its business end with the Tigers out on top and also chasing Champions Cup honours. 

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Borthwick said: “Chris is a driven, professional and competitive character, who brings with him a wealth of experience to our squad. As well as being one of the game’s best-ever finishers, Chris is also a winner and still very much has that desire to be successful.

“He is a versatile outside-back, who can play in a couple of positions and adds some important depth for us in those areas. I am excited to welcome him to Leicester Tigers and seeing him contribute to what we are doing at the club.”

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Ashton added: “The opportunity to join this group under Steve Borthwick and be part of what is being built here was one that I couldn’t ignore. Steve has been very clear with me on his expectations of anyone coming into this environment and I am excited for the chance to learn, improve and hopefully contribute to the club on and off the field.

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“It is a pretty young group and I feel like I can certainly pass on my own experiences, as well as still feeling very much that I can play a part on the field to drive the team forward.”

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