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'You said Chris Ashton would only end up playing at Doncaster'

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

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The Rugby Pod have this week celebrated the remarkable feat of Chris Ashton in setting a new all-time try-scoring record in the Gallagher Premiership following his hat-trick of tries last Saturday for Leicester. The 35-year-old ex-England player was level on 92 tries with the long time record holder Tom Varndell after scoring twice in late March at Exeter. 

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Ashton then needed just four minutes against Bristol at the weekend to set a new mark and he went on to push it even higher by following up with two more first-half tries to take the record to 95 tries with two more Premiership games left in the regular season with Leicester before the end-of-season playoffs.  

Breaking the record represents a remarkable turnaround in the fortunes of Ashton who was said to be contemplating retirement in December when he prematurely exited Worcester following an unhappy time there. 

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Chris Ashton | Rugby Roots
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Chris Ashton | Rugby Roots

A conversation in February with Steve Borthwick, his old Saracens teammate, offered a career lifeline and Ashton was soon snapped up by Leicester to bolster their challenge for both Premiership and European titles, a crusade that will continue this Saturday when they host Leinster in the Heineken Champions Cup quarter-finals. 

In the meantime, The Rugby Pod have celebrated Ashton’s record-breaking try-scoring feat with Andy Goode having a light-hearted dig at co-host Jim Hamilton, who used to be a teammate of Ashton at Saracens.    

“You claim to be the oracle,” said Goode, opening up the segment on Ashton at Leicester by poking fun at the predictions that Hamilton made for the 2021/22 season. “You talked about Bristol not making the top four, Exeter not making the top four and some things you are right but in other things, you said Chris Ashton would only end up playing at Doncaster or somewhere like that on the podcast and he has gone to Leicester and fair play to him, he breaks the record, a hat-trick of tries. 

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“What a player! As much as he is the loveable rogue and people don’t like him, people love him. I messaged him on Saturday morning because I just had a feeling it was going to be done and dusted and then he goes and scores three. Yeah, it all started with ripping your blazer, Jim.”  

Hamilton replied: “It did. I am very happy for him. He did the interview after and I can’t take him seriously because he is speaking like he has been taking sleeping pills because he is trying to be all posh. Bloody loved it. I am happy for him. 

“I know we have joked about it on here, he should be at Doncaster. No, he shouldn’t. He is at the top club in England at the minute, maybe even in Europe, who knows. I’ll be honest, hand on heart, I was very, very happy with him at the weekend. So Ashy, loveable rogue, you’re welcome big fella.”

Goode, though, wasn’t completely satisfied with the Ashton hat-trick for Leicester. “The only issue I had with it is I did not see the Ash Splash at all. He had two opportunities.”

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Hamilton explained: “He’s embarrassed by it. He told me. It basically came down to he brought a book out called Splashdown or something like that and I think it sold three books and it was all to do around that splash so not only was he embarrassed about that he was embarrassed about doing it and that becomes his legacy. I like it but yeah, he doesn’t like it.”   

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