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Harlequins sign Chris Ashton after England international’s release from Sale

The wing scored 20 tries in 44 Tests for England

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Chris Ashton has joined Harlequins (Martin Rickett/PA)

Chris Ashton has joined Harlequins (Martin Rickett/PA)

Chris Ashton has joined Harlequins (Martin Rickett/PA)

Harlequins have signed England international wing Chris Ashton following his departure from Sale Sharks.

Quins said that the 32-year-old will join them with immediate effect.

Ashton, who won the last of his 44 England caps a year ago, has scored 20 Test tries.

Sale announced Ashton’s exit on Monday, with Sharks rugby director Steve Diamond later stating he had left the club after “a disagreement on how we want to play the game”.

Diamond said: “He wants to do it one way, I want to do it another and that’s it, so end of story.”

And Quins have wasted little time in swooping for Ashton’s services as they continue their Gallagher Premiership play-off push.

In a statement released by Quins, Ashton said: “I can’t wait to get started at Quins. It is a club filled with incredibly experienced and talented players.

“I know lots of the lads at Quins, like Danny (Care), 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 has also played for Northampton, Saracens and Toulon since switching from rugby league in 2007.

Quins head of rugby Paul Gustard said: “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.

“We were very interested in Chris when he was looking to move back to the UK, but unfortunately we were not in a position to compete 28 months ago.

Chris Ashton scored 20 tries in 44 appearances for England
Chris Ashton scored 20 tries in 44 appearances for England (Mike Egerton/PA)

“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.”

Quins’ next Premiership game is against Bristol at Ashton Gate on Sunday.

PA