Chris Ashton plans to prolong his playing career for as long as possible before moving into a coaching role developing the finishing skills of emerging prospects.
Ashton has agreed a new one-season deal with Gallagher Premiership leaders Leicester in the month after he became the leading try scorer in the competition’s history.
Even at 35 years old, the dual code international is among English rugby’s most ruthless wings and he believes he has value to offer in shaping the careers of young back three players.
✍️ 𝐍𝐞𝐰 𝐃𝐞𝐚𝐥: 𝐂𝐡𝐫𝐢𝐬 𝐀𝐬𝐡𝐭𝐨𝐧
— Leicester Tigers (@LeicesterTigers) May 12, 2022
“I will play for as long as I can. I’ve got another year to ride it out a little bit longer, but the more it goes on I definitely think the rugby environment is the one for me. I don’t think me doing a 9-5 office job is going to suit any time soon!” he said.
“I’ve been discussing it and thinking about it recently. 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.”
Ashton’s unexpected revival at Mattioli Wood Welford Road ends a nomadic period in his career that saw spells at Harlequins and Worcester end abruptly.
Forced to train on his own in the hope of being picked up, he experienced an isolating three months until Leicester boss Steve Borthwick called in February to offer a short-term contract that quickly became more substantial.
“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.
“I watch a long of rugby anyway, but to watch it and not have that association, and not being able to go out there and have that desire to win was driving the missus mental.
“I tried to tackle her in the kitchen a few times to try and get a bit of the eagerness out. 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.”