The exact reason why retiring Chris Ashton 'changed the game'
By Rugby Onslaught

The exact reason why retiring Chris Ashton ‘changed the game’

Leicester Tigers winger Chris Ashton announced today that he will be bringing his 18-year professional career in rugby union and league to a close at the end of the season.

The 36-year-old stands as both the highest try scorer Heineken Champions Cup and Gallagher Premiership history and is tenth on England’s list of top try scorers, but said in a statement today that “my body is not able to do what I want it to.

“I have just felt, this season, that my body is not able to do what I want it to anymore,” the 44-cap England international said.

“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.”

As the stats show, Ashton is one of the most prolific try scorers of all time. Coming from rugby league with the Wigan Warriors, Ashton brought a level of support play and lines that the game of union had never seen before. That is why his current coach and former teammate Richard Wigglesworth was not shy to emphasise the impact he has had on rugby union.

Wigglesworth said: “Chris changed the game, to put it bluntly. That’s the biggest compliment I can give him.

“Coming over from rugby league, at a young age, Chris worked diligently, and has never stopped working, to understand the game and to be the very best player he could be.

“He has got a miles better brain for the game than he will ever get credit for and is one of the most competitive players I have played with and coached.

“He, unashamedly, just wants to score tries and is the most relentless try-scorer there has ever been.”

A highlights clip of every try Ashton ever scored for England exhibits the ability he had perfectly, as the majority of his tries are what some might call ‘run-ins’. But his ability to sniff out a try scoring situation has been rivalled by very few players in history.

Take a look at his tries: