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Tom Varndell responds to Chris Ashton equalling his try scoring record

By Ian Cameron
Tom Varndell tackles Chris Ashton /Getty

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Former England winger Tom Varndell has responded to Chris Ashton equalling his Gallagher Premiership try-scoring record.

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Ashton score a 5-pointer in each half to equal Varndell’s long-standing record of 92 tries as Leicester Tigers secured their place in the top four with a major victory over Exeter Chiefs.

Varndell – who enjoyed stints at Wasps, Leicester Tigers, Bristol Bears, Scarlets and the South China Tigers – had held the record for years, but is now facing up to relinquishing it to Ashton, who is odds on now to exceed the record with plenty of the time left in the season for the arch finisher to notch up another five-pointer.

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Chris Ashton | Rugby Roots
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Chris Ashton | Rugby Roots

Should that happen, it would take Ashton to 93 tries, but from the looks of things, Varndell is resigned to losing his record and he’s taking it on the chin.

“Congratulations Chris Ashton. I’m over the moon for you,” wrote Varndell on Twitter, before joking “absolutely ruined my Sunday. How could you do it on the day of rest.”

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England and Leicester Tigers prop Ellis Genge was quick to point out that Varndell’s Twitter bio needed updating. “Change your bio to joint top prem try scorer please Diesel.”

In fact, Varndell told RugbyPass in 2020 that he reckoned Ashton would take the record off him.

“I’m very proud [of the record]. As a winger, your job is to score the try. Even scoring for Yorkshire was great, I love scoring tries. To have that record, I wanted to have that record and to finish my playing days as the holder of that record is brilliant. I don’t see it being around for much longer. Chris Ashton might pip it before the end of the next season, but it’s great to have and I will be kicking around the top ten for a few more years. It’s brilliant,” he said.

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And Varndell has a tip for those wanting to become top try-scorers. “Very simply, always put the ball down with two hands.

“Always put it down, and never celebrate before you have scored. The number of times now I have seen a player celebrating before they have scored the try and they don’t score the try, and it always tends to be a crucial try. Make sure that ball is put down and make sure you don’t celebrate before. Poor old Stuart Hogg in the Six Nations is a prime example.

“There was one time (it happened to me). I was playing for Bath academy when I was 16 years old. I celebrated and I put the ball down with one hand. It was raining and I dropped the ball over the line. I didn’t play for Bath academy again.”

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