Borthwick salutes record-breaking try-scorer Ashton

·3-min read
Outright Premiership try record - Former England wing Chris Ashton (AFP/Ben STANSALL) (Ben STANSALL)

Leicester coach Steve Borthwick paid tribute to Chris Ashton after the former England wing ran in a hat-trick to become the Premiership's all-time leading try-scorer on Saturday.

Ashton's treble, the centrepiece of the Premiership leaders' 56-26 victory at home to Bristol, gave him 95 tries in English rugby union's top flight, surpassing the record he had shared before kick-off with Tom Varndell.

The 35-year-old dual-code international won the last of his 44 England caps in 2019 and Ashton feared his career might be over until Tigers boss Borthwick offered him a short-term contract in February following his release from Worcester.

Borthwick's faith in Ashton has been vindicated in style, with the wing's treble on Saturday coming inside the first 27 minutes of a match in which Leicester ran in eight tries in total to secure a home semi-final in the title-deciding play-offs.

"We all know what a quality player he is," said former England captain Borthwick, 42, of Ashton.

"What's struck me most is that I played alongside him many years ago and you can't tell very much difference.

"I've aged a lot and the way he goes about his daily business is pretty much the same -- he's competitive, he trains as hard as anybody, and that was always the way."

- 'Deathly silence' -

Gloucester maintained their charge for a top-four finish with a record 64-0 thrashing of west country rivals Bath.

The 10-try rout in front of their loyal home crowd at Kingsholm was Gloucester's biggest margin of victory over Bath, surpassing a 68-12 success in 2002.

"What delighted me most was that we stopped them from scoring," said Gloucester boss George Skivington. "To nil someone in the Premiership is massive and all credit to Dom Waldouck our defensive coach for the work he has put in."

Gloucester are fifth in the table, just a point behind Northampton, with two matches to play -- away to reigning champions Harlequins and at home to Saracens, who will also be their opponents in a European Challenge Cup quarter-final on Friday.

"If you want to win something you have to play good teams," added Skivington.

"We will find out over the next three matches whether we are going to get to where we want to be."

Defeat left Bath, a dominant force in the English club game in the 1980s and early 1990s, bottom of the table.

"There is a deathly silence in the changing room," said Bath coach Neal Hatley. "It is all the worse because of the opponents we were playing."

England international Max Malins scored four tries as Saracens beat Worcester 38-16 to all but assure the London club of a home semi-final.

"The game was very enjoyable but became a bit loose and we have to ensure that we don't drop off our high standards," said Malins of a match where Rotimi Segun and Ben Earl also scored tries for Saracens.

"I found myself in the right place at the right time but it wasn't an 80-minute performance from us."

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