On Sunday, Chris Ashton entered the Premiership Rugby history books as his brace in Leicester Tigers’ win over Exeter Chiefs saw him draw level with Tom Varndell at the top of the competition’s all-time leading try-scorers.
The 91st and 92nd tries of the winger’s Premiership Rugby career helped his side secure a semi-final spot, and he now needs just one more score to stand alone at the top of the standings.
Ashton has comfortably played for more clubs than anyone else in the top 10, with no other player scoring for more than three sides in their careers.
Three of the top 10 try scorers only scored for one club, Mark Cueto and Steve Hanley at Sale and Christian Wade at Wasps. Ashton is one of three players in the top 10 still playing, alongside Danny Care and Jonny May, and will now become the first Gallagher Premiership Rugby player to reach three figures.
Chris Ashton is one of the few players who have represented England in both rugby codes. He joined Leicester Tigers of Premiership Rugby as a wing or fullback in February 2022.
He first played as a fullback or wing for Wigan Warriors in rugby league’s Super League competition and won four caps for England in 2006 and 2007.
In 2007 he signed for Northampton Saints in rugby union’s Premiership before moving to Saracens in 2012, Toulon in 2017, Sale in 2018 and Harlequins in 2020. He made his debut for England in March 2010 and played regularly until 2014, including in the 2011 Rugby World Cup, where he finished as the tournament’s joint-leading try-scorer.
After a break of four years, he was recalled to the England squad in November 2018. He has won 40 caps for England. In March 2022, Ashton became the joint-leading try-scorer in Premiership Rugby history.
Although he also played on the wing, Ashton’s position at Wigan Warriors was typically fullback. He came through Wigan’s scholarship programme and played for Wigan’s U18s in 2003. He made his senior debut in Wigan’s last match of the 2005 season and scored two of their seven tries in a 36–22 victory over Huddersfield Giants.
Ashton was brought into the Wigan squad at the start of 2006 to replace the injured Kris Radlinski. He was one of the most consistent players for Wigan during their disappointing Super League XI season and was a contender for the Young Player of the Year award.
He finished the 2006 season with 15 tries from 29 appearances making him the leading try scorer for Wigan. Ashton was given the number 1 shirt, previously worn by Radlinski, at the start of 2007 despite the arrival of former Bradford Bulls fullback Michael Withers.
He made 52 appearances for the Cherry and Whites, scoring 30 tries.