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Ex-Wigan star makes interesting comments on rugby league as he retires

Former Super League star Chris Ashton who moved to rugby union, will retire at the conclusion of the 2022/23 season after an 18-year career as a professional in both rugby union and rugby league.

The Leicester Tigers outside-back has, to date, made 25 appearances for the club after joining midway through the 2021/22 campaign.

Prior to joining Tigers, Ashton played for Wigan Warriors (rugby league) and Northampton Saints, Saracens, Toulon, Sale Sharks, Harlequins and Worcester Warriors (rugby union), as well as representing England in both codes and the Barbarians.

One of the most prolific try-scorers in the history of rugby union, Ashton is the record try-scorer in the Gallagher Premiership (98) and Heineken Champions Cup (41) competitions.

To date, he has won three Premierships, two Heineken Champions Cups and one European Challenge Cup.

His professional career began in 2005 when he debuted for Wigan, as an 18-year-old, and scored two tries in his first appearance.

Ashton made more than 50 appearances for the Super League club, and represented England in rugby league, before switching to rugby union to join Northampton.

In 2010, he made his England Rugby Test debut and went on to represent his country on 44 occasions, scoring 20 international tries.

He spent five seasons with Saints before moving to Saracens, where he spent a further five years and was part of two Premiership and one European Cup winning campaigns.

In 2017, Ashton joined Toulon and, during his lone year in France, he broke the record for tries scored in a single season with 24 tries in 23 appearances.

He returned to England in 2018 to join Sale before stints with Harlequins and Worcester ahead of joining Tigers in February 2022.

In his time at Tigers so far, he has scored 10 tries in 25 appearances and started on the wing in the 2021/22 Gallagher Premiership Final win over his former club Saracens at Twickenham.

Discussing his decision to retire at the end of this rugby union season, Ashton said: “I have just felt, this season, that my body is not able to do what I want it do anymore.”

“I am still enjoying the game, enjoying being in and around the team and the game every day, but if I am not able to keep the standards that I expect of myself, then it is the right time for me to retire.

“I am content with the decision and, honestly, I definitely wouldn’t have been had I not been able to come to Leicester Tigers, get back into the game and finish my career on my terms.

“It is the right time for me, I know that, and I am happy in making this decision at this time.”

Looking back on his decorated career, Ashton made some interesting comments on rugby league: “I still can’t believe all that I have been able to do and all that rugby union has given me.”

“This game has opened the world to me, taken me to places I never thought I would have been or experienced, and I am so grateful for that.

“Playing for Wigan Warriors was my dream growing up, that was all I wanted to do, and I know rugby league would have given me so much too, but it is amazing to look back and see what I have been able to do because of both codes and the groups and places I have been a part of in my career.

“I am honoured to have done what I have done, for the clubs I have played for and to represent my country in two codes.”

On his Leicester Tigers tenure, he added: “My time at Leicester Tigers gave me something I thought I might have lost, which was just to play the game again and play until I knew I could keep playing and contributing.

“To be a part of this group, at this club, has been special. This is a unique group of players and unique environment, in the way that they are so resilient, want to do the hard work and have such a no nonsense approach.

“I am grateful to have been able to experience this in my final years and to have been a part of this group of players and people at a club like Leicester Tigers.”

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Jmaes

    April 12, 2023 at 4:30 pm

    You’ve really got to think before dressing this story up as of any interest to RL fans.

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