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Tigers & England wing to retire from professional rugby



Chris Ashton will retire at the conclusion of the 2022/23 season after an 18-year career as a professional in both rugby union and rugby league.

The Leicester Tigers outside-back has, to date, made 25 appearances for the club after joining midway through the 2021/22 campaign.

Prior to joining Tigers, Ashton played for Wigan Warriors (rugby league) and Northampton Saints, Saracens, Toulon, Sale Sharks, Harlequins and Worcester Warriors (rugby union), as well as representing England in both codes and the Barbarians.

One of the most prolific try-scorers in the history of rugby union, Ashton is the record try-scorer in the Gallagher Premiership (98) and Heineken Champions Cup (41) competitions.

To date, he has won three Premierships, two Heineken Champions Cups and one European Challenge Cup.

His professional career began in 2005 when he debuted for Wigan, as an 18-year-old, and scored two tries in his first appearance.

Ashton made more than 50 appearances for the Super League club, and represented England in rugby league, before switching to rugby union to join Northampton.

In 2010, he made his England Rugby Test debut and went on to represent his country on 44 occasions, scoring 20 international tries.

He spent five seasons with Saints before moving to Saracens, where he spent a further five years and was part of two Premiership and one European Cup winning campaigns.

In 2017, Ashton joined Toulon and, during his lone year in France, he broke the record for tries scored in a single season with 24 tries in 23 appearances.

He returned to England in 2018 to join Sale before stints with Harlequins and Worcester ahead of joining Tigers in February 2022.

In his time at Tigers so far, he has scored 10 tries in 25 appearances and started on the wing in the 2021/22 Gallagher Premiership Final win over his former club Saracens at Twickenham.

Discussing his decision to retire at the end of this season, Ashton said: “I have just felt, this season, that my body is not able to do what I want it do anymore.”

“I am still enjoying the game, enjoying being in and around the team and the game every day, but if I am not able to keep the standards that I expect of myself, then it is the right time for me to retire.

“I am content with the decision and, honestly, I definitely wouldn’t have been had I not been able to come to Leicester Tigers, get back into the game and finish my career on my terms.

“It is the right time for me, I know that, and I am happy in making this decision at this time.”

Looking back on his decorated career, Ashton said: “I still can’t believe all that I have been able to do and all that rugby union has given me.”

“This game has opened the world to me, taken me to places I never thought I would have been or experienced, and I am so grateful for that.

“Playing for Wigan Warriors was my dream growing up, that was all I wanted to do, and I know rugby league would have given me so much too, but it is amazing to look back and see what I have been able to do because of both codes and the groups and places I have been a part of in my career.

“I am honoured to have done what I have done, for the clubs I have played for and to represent my country in two codes.”

On his Leicester Tigers tenure, he added: “My time at Leicester Tigers gave me something I thought I might have lost, which was just to play the game again and play until I knew I could keep playing and contributing.

“To be a part of this group, at this club, has been special. This is a unique group of players and unique environment, in the way that they are so resilient, want to do the hard work and have such a no nonsense approach.

“I am grateful to have been able to experience this in my final years and to have been a part of this group of players and people at a club like Leicester Tigers.”

Ashton also made special mention of his family.

“I know I wouldn’t be where I am today or achieved all that I have without the support from the very beginning from my family, in my mum, dad, brother and sisters, as well as all that my wife, Melissa, and children, Ava and Isaac, have given to me.

“I have been fortunate to have shared in so many special moments with all of my family throughout the years and especially, in these later years, the chance to share in even more with my kids.”

Speaking about Ashton, Leicester Tigers Interim Head Coach and former teammate with Leicester, Saracens and England Rugby, Richard Wigglesworth said: “Chris changed the game, to put it bluntly. That’s the biggest compliment I can give him.”

“Coming over from rugby league, at a young age, Chris worked diligently, and has never stopped working, to understand the game and to be the very best player he could be.

“He has got a miles better brain for the game than he will ever get credit for and is one of the most competitive players I have played with and coached.

“He, unashamedly, just wants to score tries and is the most relentless try-scorer there has ever been.

“I have spent a lot of time with Chris over the years, on and off the pitch, and is a great guy, a team guy, with a brilliant attitude and great sense of humour. You will always have a good time with Chris.

“Since I got this job, his professionalism and his support has been of a great help to me. He has been a great sounding board for me and, in his time at Leicester Tigers, been a great example of professionalism and work ethic for our young players.

“I can’t thank him enough for what he has done for me, first as a teammate and now as a coach, and look forward to seeing him continue to be a great player until retirement at the end of this season.”

Keep an eye on LTTV for an in-depth chat with Ashton explaining his decision to retire, discussing his career to date and looking back on memorable moments throughout his time in rugby union and rugby league.

Content & Images from – Leicester Tigers Rugby


Club announce arrival of former Wallaby coach



Leicester Tigers Head Coach Dan McKellar has appointed Petrus du Plessis to his senior coaching team as Interim Scrum Coach.

The South African will remain in the role until the arrival of new Scrum Coach Dan Palmer, when his commitments with the Wallabies are complete following the Australian national side’s Rugby World Cup campaign.

Born in South Africa, du Plessis represented St Helens, Orrell and Sedgley Park between 2001-2009 before joining Nottingham Rugby ahead of the 2009/10 Championship season.

He joined Saracens a year later and, during the next sevens seasons, featured in three league and two European Champions Cup winning campaigns.

The front-rower moved to London Irish in 2017 and then Glasgow Warriors in 2018, spending two seasons in Scotland before retiring in 2020 – including a final season as player/coach.

In September 2020, du Plessis was announced as Australia’s Scrum Coach where he worked alongside McKellar for almost three years.

Speaking about the interim appointment, Leicester Tigers Head Coach Dan McKellar said: “Our scrum is an integral part of what we do and, with Dan [Palmer] arriving after the World Cup, we felt it was important to have that specific focus on it during this period.

“To have been able to appoint someone with the experience of Petrus for that was an added bonus and too good an opportunity not to take up for the club and our players.

“I have worked with Petrus over the past few years in Australia and know the energy and enthusiasm he brings, as well as the effort he puts into his work. I am glad we’re able to have that here at Leicester Tigers in the interim.”

The appointment of Petrus du Plessis to the interim role is effective immediately.

Content & Images from – Leicester Tigers Rugby

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Bath confirm 2023/24 squad



The official Bath Rugby squad for the 2023/24 season has been announced.

Entering into his second year at the helm of Bath Rugby, Johann van Graan welcomed Ollie Lawrence, Ted Hill, Alfie Barbeary and Fergus Lee-Warner over the course of 2022/23, who remain with squad as we head into 2023/24.

With Finn Russell and Thomas du Toit still yet to link up with the squad after the Rugby World Cup, the Head of Rugby’s squad is looking full of power and prowess. 

Several big names committed their futures to the Blue, Black and White earlier this year, seeing England internationals Tom Dunn, Will Stuart, Sam Underhill, Ben Spencer and Joe Cokanasiga all re-signing. 

Scotland international Cameron Redpath also pledged his future to the club, as did Irish international second row Quinn Roux. 

Arriving at the club this summer is recently announced signing, Mikey Summerfield, who joined from London Irish. The young prop has been lauded with talent and high prospects, offering another option in the front row. 

Bath Rugby also named Billy Sela, Jack Bennett, Ieuan Davies, Ioan Emanuel, Rory Cameron, James Short, George Timmins and Raff Weston as their Academy intake for 2023/24, with many of them already putting their stamp on the age-grade international stage. 

The Bath Rugby squad are now preparing for the season ahead, with the opening fixtures seeing the commencement of a newly formatted Premiership Rugby Cup.

The coaching set-up has also been refreshed for 2023/23. Joining van Graan on his staffing team are Assistant Coaches Lee Blackett and Richard Blaze, who arrived at the club from Wasps and Leicester Tigers ahead of pre-season.

Stevie Scott and Andy Robinson have also joined van Graan to assist with scrummaging and the coaching of the Academy, respectively.

JP Ferreira and Jon Callard remain with the squad into their second year alongside van Graan. 

bath rugby squad 2023/24

PROP: Arthur Cordwell, Thomas du Toit, Ioan Emanuel, Archie Griffin, Johannes Jonker, Scott Kirk, Beno Obano, Juan Schoeman, Billy Sela, Archie Stanley, Will Stuart, Mikey Summerfield, Kieran Verden

HOOKER: Niall Annett, Tom Dunn, Max Pearce, Jasper Spandler, John Stewart

SECOND ROW: Jack Bennett, Rory Cameron, Harvey Cuckson, Josh Dingley, Eddie Erskine, Charlie Ewels, Will Jeanes, Fergus Lee-Warner, Daniel Marais, Josh McNally, Ewan Richards, Quinn Roux

BACK ROW: Abdul-Khalik Akenzua Al Kareem, Alfie Barbeary, Josh Bayliss, Chris Cloete, Jaco Coetzee, Thompson Cowan, MacKenzie Graham, Arthur Green, Ted Hill, Nahum Merigan, Miles Reid, Ethan Staddon, George Timmins, JJ Tonks, Sam Underhill

SCRUM-HALF: Tom Carr-Smith, Ieuan Davies, Murdoch Lock, Louis Schreuder, Ben Spencer

FLY-HALF: Orlando Bailey, Piers Francis, Sam Harris, Finn Russell, Raff Weston, George Worboys

CENTRE: Will Butt, Louie Hennessey, Ollie Lawrence, Max Ojomoh, Will Parry, Cameron Redpath, James Short, Max Wright

BACK THREE: Joe Cokanasiga, Tom de Glanville, Ciaran Donoghue, Matt Gallagher, Gabe Goss, Luke Graham, Byron Lloyd-Gilmour, Ruaridh McConnochie, Will Muir

bath rugby coaching team

HEAD OF RUGBY: Johann van Graan

ASSISTANT COACHES: Lee Blackett, Richard Blaze, Jon Callard, JP Ferreira, Andy Robinson, Stevie Scott


Content & Images from – Bath Rugby

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Alex Brown | Open letter to supporters



Gloucester Rugby

Dear All, 

I wanted to write following Lance’s announcement last week that he was standing down as CEO of Gloucester Rugby. First and foremost, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Lance for his significant contribution to the Club over the past four years; during Lance’s stewardship, we have emerged from an extremely challenging period to a position of financial health and together, have built a team of staff and players who hold a forward-thinking mindset, setting up our Club well for a promising future ahead.  

I feel truly privileged and humbled to have been asked by Martin St Quinton to help to drive the Club forward this summer. 

So, I wanted to take this opportunity to highlight how the off-season is progressing behind the scenes.  

150th Anniversary 

Founded in 1873, it is an incredibly exciting year for the Club as we celebrate our 150th Anniversary. We have been working on plans to commemorate this significant event and look forward to hosting our Big Summer Party on the 12th August to kick off the season. There will be live music, community coaching opportunities, signing sessions and more. And of course, not forgetting a hero’s welcome for our Premier 15s winning Gloucester-Hartpury team who will be joining us on the day to mark this notable milestone in the Club’s history. I am also delighted to announce that we will be launching our new 2023/24 home shirt on this day too. 


The full fixture list has now been drawn; and with a new season structure in place this year (owing to the Rugby World Cup), the Gallagher Premiership season will start slightly later, and include a rest period during the Six Nations. This is a beneficial change for the whole league, ensuring that international players are available and promoting Premiership Rugby for much of the season. Tickets for our opening three Premiership games and all our Premiership Cup fixtures will go on sale on the 1st August.  Our Venue Sales Team have been working hard to update and improve the hospitality packages for next season and I’m pleased to say we are already taking bookings for the first three games. If you are interested in learning more about our hospitality packages, please do get in touch with us here.  

We are delighted to have over 5000 Club Members already signed up for next season, with another 200 Gloucester-Hartpury Club Memberships sold in our first season too. There’s still time to secure yours if you haven’t yet. Being a Club Member is the most cost-effective way to secure your spot at every regular home fixture next season. All Club Membership packs will be sent out over the coming month. You can get your membership here

2023/24 season 

As we edge closer towards September, work is continuing behind the scenes across the business in readiness for the new season. Our ambition remains to deliver success for our Club at every level; either through on-field success, through our inspiring work within the community or the experiences we all enjoy at our stadium. We have always benefitted from a strong brand and an incredible fan base; now is the time we strengthen that to put Gloucester Rugby at the top of the table in all areas. 

I’d also like to thank you for your tremendous ongoing support. Despite last season not finishing how we hoped, we still had record numbers of supporters turning out to watch our men’s and women’s teams. We hope that as we grow, you will remain on this journey with us and once again, thank you. I look forward to welcoming you back to Kingsholm again.  

I will keep everyone informed as things are firmed up in terms of long-term leadership for the Club. 

Best wishes, 


Content & Images from – Gloucester Rugby

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