Premiership leaders Leicester Tigers have signed ex-England winger Chris Ashton on a ‘short-term’ deal.
The 34-year-old has scored 20 tries in 44 England appearances but his career has stalled for the past three seasons.
He has been without a club since separates from Worcester in December “from a common agreement”.
“Chris is a driven, professional and competitive character who brings a wealth of experience to our team,” Tigers boss Steve Borthwick said.
“Besides being one of the best finishers in the game, Chris is also a winner and always has that desire to succeed.”
The Tigers, who bounced back from back-to-back defeats to beat Worcester last weekend and stay seven points clear at the top, are in Premiership action again on Friday at home against premier rugby union club Ashton, Northampton Saints.
The former Wigan rugby league player was still a teenager when he announced he was code switching to join Northampton in March 2007, since playing at Saracens, Toulon – where he broke the record for French top 14 for tries scored in a single season with 24 appearances in 23 – and Sale.
He also enjoyed success with England, having made his debut against France in Paris in 2010.
But he terminated his contract prematurely to exit sale in March 2020 – and short-term moves to Harlequins and Worcester did not prove successful.
“I can convey my own experiences” – Ashton
Ashton made just four appearances for Worcester – he was injured in his second game and then scored his only Worcester try at home against former club Northampton in March.
But he was expelled and banned six matches after being found guilty of dangerous play in this Worcester club record 62-14 home defeatwhich proved his last appearance.
This suspension lasted until this season. But, after weeks of media speculation over his future, having been repeatedly ‘unavailable for selection’ all season, Warriors finally announced he was gone – just a month later. the arrival at Sixways of its former boss of Sale Steve Diamond.
“The opportunity to join this group, under the leadership of Steve Borthwick, and be part of what is being built here was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up,” added Ashton, who is the top try scorer in European Champions Cup history with 40, and third on the all-time list for tries scored in Premiership Rugby with 89.
“It’s a fairly young group and I feel like I can definitely pass on my own experiences.
“Steve has been very clear with me about his expectations of everyone who comes into this environment. I am delighted to have the chance to learn, improve and hopefully contribute to the club. on and off the field.”