Chris Ashton rolls again the years to breaks Premiership try-scoring file in Leicester Tigers rout

Leicester 56 Bristol 26

Chris Ashton smashed the Premiership try-scoring file as Leicester booked themselves a house play-off semi-final and confirmed their readiness for challenges to return in Europe.

The veteran winger scored 3 times in 24 first-half minutes to notch up yet one more landmark as Tigers totally dominated Bristol.

Ashton scored his first Premiership strive, for Northampton in opposition to Wasps, in 2008 and quantity 93 got here after three minutes right here. Numbers 94 and 95 swiftly adopted as he confirmed his urge for food for scoring stays undimmed.

The winger leapfrogged Tom Varndell, the previous Leicester, Wasps and Bristol wing, to high the scoring charts and may add that 95 to twenty for England, in 44 caps, and one other file breaking 24 within the French Top 14 with Toulon in 2017-18.

Ashton can also be the highest strive scorer within the Champions Cup, with 40 for Northampton, Saracens, Toulon and Sale, and his efforts helped tee up subsequent week’s house European quarter-final in opposition to Leinster on Saturday. The final time Tigers had been crushed at this previous floor was within the corresponding fixture final 12 months and an unbeaten file stretching again over 9 months is massive tick to take into Saturday’s tie in opposition to the Irish province.

Leicester are a membership rejuvenated this season and Ashton is a participant having a brand new lease of life within the Midlands, on the age of 35, since becoming a member of in February after falling out with Worcester.

“I had three months at home thinking that was it so I am very grateful to get the opportunity again.,” stated Ashton. “When Steve rang I stated I might be right here tomorrow and it was a very simple choice for me. I’m grateful to him for giving me the chance to be again in once more.

“My mum said to me the other day scoring is the only thing that makes me genuinely look happy. It was a bit more special today. I am glad to get it out of the way, it could have taken a lot longer.”

Ashton aside, George Ford was flawless along with his kicking from hand, Harry Potter energetic on the alternative wing to Ashton and the Leicester pack, led by Ellis Genge and Jasper Wiese, was sometimes Leicester.

After Harlequins failure to recover from the road at Northampton on Friday night time Leicester knew a win could be sufficient to ensure them a semi-final again right here.

As in the event that they wanted any additional motivation Leicester had been led out of the tunnel by former captain Tom  Youngs who introduced his retirement this week on the age of 35.  Hooker Youngs took day out of the sport indefinitely in October to look after his spouse, Tiffany, who’s battling most cancers.

Youngs captained Leicester 98 occasions, solely Martin Johnson has carried out the job extra, and for one final time he was first out of the tunnel to the sounds of ‘Smoke on the Water’. He had hardly taken his place within the stands earlier than Ashton claimed the Premiership file and when the ex-captain did a half-time lap of honour, along with his younger daughter Maisie in tow, the winger had three on the board.

Ashton’s first after three minutes arrived due to a chip into house from centre Matias Moroni and the veteran flopped on the ball within the in-goal space. A Ford penalty widened the lead earlier than Jack Bates, the Bristol centre, deflated the social gathering environment by outpacing the house defence for a surprising rating.

Ashton was again in enterprise after 23 minutes, simply after being denied one other rating by Ioan Lloyd’s cowl deal with, when swift palms by Ford and Freddie Steward put away within the left-hand nook, benefiting from a Genge midfield burst.

The hat-trick arrived 4 minutes later as Ben Youngs discovered Ashton on a well-recognized monitoring line and Ashton was lurking once more, this time to no avail, when Youngs went over for his first league strive of the season earlier than the break.

Flanker Tommy Reffell continued his spectacular season when his cost down of Tiff Eden’s kick created Leicester’s fifth strive for centre Matias Moroni. Full-back Steward then waltzed by way of the Bristol defence as Leicester head coach Steve Borthwick withdrew the likes of Youngs, Genge, Ford and Dan Cole with subsequent week’s European summit in thoughts.

There was nonetheless time for Ashton to go shut within the nook however that transient respite for Bears solely lasted a number of seconds till No.8 Wiese crashed over. Late scores from Harry Thacker and Chris Vui couldn’t gloss over one other chastening afternoon for Bristol who made too many errors to compete with the league leaders a 12 months after they led the league themselves earlier than falling in a heap in opposition to Harlequins within the semi-finals.

“When you turn over against a team that is in form and having their day it makes it hard,” stated Pat Lam, the Bristol director of rugby.

“They are the gold standard at the moment. This is their time. Everyone has their day and we will get our day back.”

Match particulars

Scoring sequence: 5-0 Ashton strive; 8-0 Ford pen; 8-5 Bates strive, 8-7 Sheedy con; 13-7 Ashton strive, 15-7 Ford con; 20-7 Ashton strive, 22-7 Ford con; 22-12 Fricker strive, 27-12 Youngs strive (half-time) 32-12  Moroni strive, 34-12 Ford con; 37-12 Ford pen, 42-12 Steward strive, 44-12 Ford con, 49-12 Wiese strive, 51-12 Burns con; 51-17 Thacker strive, 51-19 Eden con, 56-19 Potter strive; 56-24 Vui strive, 56-26 Eden con

Leicester: F.Steward; C.Ashton, M.Moroni, G.Porter (N.Nadolo 49), H.Potter; G.Ford (F.Burns 58), B.Youngs (R.Wigglesworth 55); E.Genge (capt, J.Whitcombe 58), J.Montoya (C.Clare 49), D.Cole (J.Heyes 58), H.Wells, C.Green (E.Snyman 64), H.Liebenberg, T.Reffell, J.Wiese
Replacements not used: O.Robinson

Bristol: I.Lloyd; T.Fricker (W.Capon 72), J.Bates, P.O’Conor, H.Purdy (A.Leiua 58); C.Sheedy (T.Eden 36), H.Randall (A.Uren 55; J.Woolmore (J.Benz-Salomon 69), H.Thacker, J.Afoa (J.Armstrong 58), J.Joyce, C.Vui, S.Luatua (capt, J.Hawkins 64), S.Jeffries (D.Thomas 55), F.Harding

Referee: Karl Dickson (RFU)
Attendance: 20,502

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