Chris Ashton's career is surely over after red card in final home appearance
By Rugby Onslaught

Chris Ashton’s career is surely over after red card in final home appearance

Chris Ashton had a maximum of three games left of his professional career when he lined up against his former side Harlequins on Saturday at Welford Road, having confirmed recently that he will retire at the end of the season.

With a semi-final already booked in the Gallagher Premiership, there was at least one game after Quins, and a win in the play-offs would have given him a final farewell at Twickenham. But it all went very wrong for the former England winger.

A first half red card looks like it may have put an end to any dreams of a swan song though. The card came on 39 minutes after Ashton assisted a tackle on Cadan Murley. His shoulder went straight to the head of Murley, with very little mitigation, meaning referee Ian Tempest had no choice but to send the 36-year-old walking.

The Premiership’s record try scorer even knew he had done something very wrong when he made the tackle, and lifted his arms in apology. Perhaps in that split second he knew that his career had come to an end. Unless there is a very unlikely overturning of the red card this week, that was Ashton’s final act on a rugby pitch.

The good thing for Ashton was that he was able to cross the 100 try mark in the Premiership against Exeter Chiefs the round before at Welford Road, but he would have desperately wanted to add another title to his collection haul.

For a player whose Test career was held back by his defence and his discipline, the two have come back to haunt him right at the end of his career.

With only 14 men, Leicester fell to a 20-17 loss to Quins, although it was fairly academic for them as they still finished third in the league, meaning they will play Sale Sharks in the semi-final next Sunday.

Take a look at how it all unfolded: