Premiership: Chris Ashton aims to create a finishing school

Lawrence Nolan

With the endorsements about his longevity from head coach Steve Borthwick ringing in his ears, Leicester wing Chris Ashton has pledged to keep playing as long as he can.

But at the age of 35, his thoughts have naturally also turned to life after rugby, and he has formed a shrewd idea of carving out a specialist coaching role for himself.

Niche market

“I’ve been discussing it and thinking about it recently,” he said.

“I’d like to help wingers and back three players find a way to become better finishers and how to get on the ball and score tries. I think there’s a niche market there for me.

“As you get older you understand and reflect on why you are putting yourself in certain situations. A lot of them don’t just happen.

“There is talent in there but it’s not instinctive, you’re reading the game and being ahead of the game and I’m hoping that I can pass on some of that.

“It does take time to understand how you get yourself into a situation. Just being instinctive and ahead of the game, reading it before it happens.”

Now the Premiership’s record try-scorer, Ashton is basking in the glory of a late career revival at Leicester, after sudden ends to spells at Worcester and Harlequins saw his career in danger of limply petering out; a shame, for his enthusiasm for the game remains unstilted.

“Sometimes it was hard to find motivation. I just knew that I still had something to offer and I was desperate to get back out there,” Ashton added.

“Any opportunity that came up might not necessarily have been the right one. It had to be the right for me and thankfully Steve was the one who rang.”