Becoming only the second England player to score four tries in a Championship match and the first for 97 years was a major distinction for Chris Ashton, who achieved the feat in the 59-13 win over Italy in February 2011. His exploits brought him a man of the match award. With two tries already tucked away against Wales, he equalled the RBS 6 Nations best of six in a season. He shares the record with Will Greenwood (2001) and Shane Williams (2008) and was the leading try-scorer in the 2011 Championship.
His six RWC tries that year meant he was only two short of the individual tournament record held by Jonah Lomu (1999) and Bryan Habana (2007). He was the joint leading try-scorer in the 2011 event alongside Vincent Clerc.
Chris brought a spell of 11 Test matches without scoring to an end in spectacular style against the All Blacks at Twickenham in December 2012 and he crashed over the Scotland line in the opening 2013 RBS 6 Nations Championship game. He started every match in the tournament. His next try was against Argentina, also at Twickenham, the following November.
His touchdown against New Zealand stemmed from one of his inimitable supporting runs. He seized a pass from Manu Tuilagi to run in a scintillating try, the second of England’s three touchdowns, to put his side 25-14 ahead after 58 minutes. Chris also crossed the All Blacks’ line in the second Test at Dunedin in June 2014. It helped to bring England to within a point of New Zealand in the final minute.
Euphoric praise had already been heaped on Chris for his stunning 85-metre try against Australia in November 2010. Prolific try-scoring had crowned his union success since switching from Wigan Warriors to Saints on a three-year contract for 2007/08, in which he made 39 touchdowns, a record for what is now the Greene King IPA Championship.
His scoring output continued unabated as his outstanding maiden Test try illustrated on his third appearance in the 21-20 victory over Australia in June 2010. He followed that with another try in the final tour match against New Zealand Maori. He bagged 23 tries in 32 matches in 2009/10 and the book closed on his Saints career with 93 touchdowns in 111 games.
Chris signed a “long-term” contract with Saracens starting in 2013-14 and his final game of the previous season brought a hat-trick of tries for England in the 57-26 victory over the Barbarians at Twickenham. He then started all three summer Tests against South Africa in 2012 and missed the opening QBE International against Fiji that autumn before returning against Australia. Chris was rested for the 2013 summer tour of South America and had amassed 62 tries in 111 Premiership matches for his two clubs by the end of January this year. He has won 39 Test caps but did not make his Saxons debut until the Ireland Wolfhounds match in Cork in January last year. Chris was the joint second highest try-scorer in the 2014/15 Premiership with 13 alongside fellow Saracen Chris Wyles. He enjoyed an outstanding season and a half for his club going into this year.
A product of St John Fisher Catholic HS, he emerged through Wigan’s development system. Rugby runs in the family. His father Kevin appeared for Wigan RUFC and brother David played for Swinton Lions RLFC.
95 points - 19T
2010 F, A(1,2), NZ, A, Sam, SA 2011 W, It, F, S, I, I World Cup - Arg, G, R, S, F 2012 S, It, W, F, I, SA (1,2,3), A, SA, NZ 2013 S, I, F, It, W, A, Arg, NZ 2014 NZ(2R,3)
Last updated: 26 January 2015