Chris Ashton: Leicester Tigers was 'last shot' when winger feared career was 'all over'

Chris Ashton in action for Leicester Tigers
Chris Ashton is a dual-code international who switched from playing rugby league to rugby union with Northampton in 2007

Ex-England winger Chris Ashton says he saw Leicester Tigers as "his last shot" to continue his rugby career when he thought it was "all over".

He joined Tigers on a short-term deal in February, having had three months without a club after leaving Worcester.

Ashton, 35, has scored six tries in seven Premiership games to become the league's all-time leading try-scorer, and last week signed a new deal.

"I had to prove to myself I could still play and had stuff to offer," he said.

"I needed to prove a lot to the players and fans to be accepted - nobody saw me playing here. I wanted to take everything I'd learned and bring it together for my final shot.

"Three months is a long time to reflect and think it's all over. But it's funny how things can change so quickly.

"I now know I want to give this chance everything because it could be my last chance."

'I had to take the situation with both hands'

Ashton, a Premiership title and European Champions Cup winner with Saracens, said the move to Tigers was "the right decision" after a number of previous moves "hadn't worked out".

He left Saracens in 2017 for a stint in France with Toulon - where he broke the French Top 14 record for tries scored in a single season with 24 in 23 appearances - then returned to the English game with Sale a year later.

But he terminated his contract early to leave Sale in March 2020 and short stints with Harlequins and Worcester followed after that.

"Being on a short-term contract, I had to take the situation with both hands and try and be the player I wanted to be in the style I wanted to play in," he told BBC Radio Leicester.

"I'm back enjoying my rugby, and when you've been in a position when what you love might be taken away, you are even more grateful for when the opportunity comes back round."

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