Leicester Tigers winger brought up the milestone with a hat-trick against Exeter Chiefs

Chris Ashton has become the first player to score 100 Premiership tries after the Leicester Tigers winger grabbed a hat-trick in the 62-19 thrashing of Exeter Chiefs on Sunday.

Ashton started the game on 98 scores, knowing that no man had ever brought up their three figures previously, and had to be patient after he looked to have scored his magic 100th five-pointer only for a toe in touch to deprive him with Olly Woodburn controversially sent off and a penalty try awarded for his role in preventing the score.

However, the 36-year-old was not to be denied and finished the day on 101, even celebrating in the style of Felipe Contempomi by taking a seat in the stands and clapping his own score, as the Tigers ran riot at Welford Road to bolster their play-off hopes and all but end Exeter’s chances of scraping into the top four.

Ashton announced last week that he would be retiring at the end of the season but has cemented his place as the competition’s greatest try-scorer and still has time to add to his total. Richard Wigglesworth’s side have a bye week before facing Harlequins on 6 May and then a probable semi-final encounter in store.

After the game, Ashton told BBC Radio Leicester: “I’ve had an overwhelming week with the retirement and stuff, but my motivation has always been the same – to score tries for my team and it was no different today.

Read more: Bizzare Woodburn leaves Exeter Chiefs players fuming

“I’ve struggled the past few weeks just to get fit but I felt good out there – I almost thought ‘have I retired too early?’ Maybe that’s the best way, you need a goal, a focus as a professional player and I left myself two games, so I had to get it quickly.

“The lads have really been behind me, trying to help and support as much as they can. They know how desperate I was to get it and I’m very grateful to them.”

Ashton has now scored 12 tries in 23 Tigers appearances since he was given the opportunity to join the club by Steve Borthwick in 2022. Leicester are his sixth Premiership club, after crossing codes from rugby league with Wigan in 2007, Ashton joined Northampton Saints and scored 33 tries in 51 appearances.

Related: Rugby Fixtures – Gallagher Premiership

In 2012, he moved to Saracens where he spent five years and scored 47 tries in 79 league games. After a season in Toulon, he joined Sale Sharks where he scored six Premiership tries in 14 appearances from 2018 to 2020.

Two tries in seven appearances for Harlequins followed in 2020-21 before a solitary try for Worcester Warriors preceded his move to Leicester.

Ashton scored 20 tries in 44 England caps but could have had more after missing out on selection on several occasions due to various suspensions. He became famous for his ‘Ash Splash’ celebration.

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