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Saturday 4 February 2023 Dublin: 9°C
# Quick Move
Chris Ashton joins Harlequins after dramatic fallout and exit from Sale
The 32-year-old Wigan native hasn’t hung around in finding a new club.

HARLEQUINS HAVE CONFIRMED that former England wing Chris Ashton has joined the club with immediate effect following his dramatic exit from Sale Sharks earlier this week.

Sale announced Ashton’s shock departure on Monday with Sharks director of rugby Steve Diamond since revealing that he and the 32-year-old had fallen out over “a disagreement on how we want to play the game.”

Harlequins have quickly pounced to secure Ashton’s services, with the wing bringing his prolific try-scoring record to Paul Gustard’s squad, linking up with former international team-mates Mike Brown, Joe Marler, and Danny Care – with whom Ashton presents a rugby podcast for the BBC.

chris-ashton Bryan Keane / INPHO Ashton's exit from Sale was announced on Monday. Bryan Keane / INPHO / INPHO

“I can’t wait to get started at Quins,” said Ashton. “It is a club filled with incredibly experienced and talented players. When I spoke to Gussy and heard more about the direction the club is going in and what it means to be a Harlequin, I knew that this was the right move for me.

“I know lots of the lads at Quins, like Danny, through our England careers and years of friendship. I like the look of what Quins are doing, they are growing a strong squad and the foundations for future success are in place.

“I know that I have still got a lot to give on the pitch and I am confident that being at Quins will enable me to continue scoring tries and help me with my aspirations of reaching 100 Premiership tries, beating the current record.”

Ashton currently sits on 86 Premiership tries, third on the all-time list, while he scored 20 in 44 Tests with England. 

The former rugby league, Saracens and Toulon man declined a place in Eddie Jones’ wider training squad before the 2019 World Cup, opting to prioritise spending time with his family.

Harlequins boss Gustard welcomed the new addition.

“We are delighted that Ashy has decided to commit his future to Harlequins,” said Gustard. “I have known Chris for around eight years now and he is without doubt one of the most competitive, professional and dedicated athletes I have encountered.

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chris-ashton-celebrates-his-try Gary Carr / INPHO Ashton after scoring for Toulon against Munster in 2018. Gary Carr / INPHO / INPHO

“His drive to succeed and win is exceptional, allied to his desire to improve and be the best version of himself he can be has always been clear.

“We were very interested in Chris when he was looking to move back to the UK [from Toulon], but unfortunately we were not in a position to compete 28 months ago. However, circumstances change and timings can sometimes work in mysterious ways, meaning we were able to get our man.

“We have four of our senior back three players currently unavailable with injury and therefore to bring Chris to the club is a big boost to the squad.

“The Quins supporters will of course be aware of his prowess on the field and let’s be frank, astonishing try scoring record across all competitions and leagues. This is down to not only his skill, but equally also founded on his incredible work ethic.

“What they will not be aware of is that he is a loving family man with two beautiful kids and will add significant value to our group through his presence. I have no doubt he will also help to drive and develop our exceptionally talented young wings in Cadan and Gabs.

“I am sure the Quins faithful will show their love for Chris on the field and show their respect to him, his wife Melissa and their family off it. It is a great signing for us and adds to the quality that we have at the club. On behalf of all at Quins, welcome Ashy.” 

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