Chris Ashton’s Career Ended With Red Card In Leicester Loss – FloRugby
Chris Ashton’s decorated career ended with a red card, as Leicester was defeated 20-17 by Harlequins on the final day of the Gallagher Premiership’s regular season.
The former England winger, who is retiring at the end of the campaign, was dismissed toward the end of the first half for a dangerous high tackle on opposite number Cadan Murley.
Despite the loss, Leicester’s semifinal at Sale next week was confirmed, while Quins wideman Murley will end as the top-flight’s leading scorer with 15 tries.
Harlequins opened the scoring after 12 minutes, when they were awarded a penalty try after Leicester lock Cameron Henderson was judged to have collapsed a driving maul that looked set to power over.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) May 6, 2023
Henderson was sin-binned as a result, but 14-man Leicester quickly hit back when a maul of its own proved unstoppable, with captain Julian Montoya having an armchair ride to the line.
Handre Pollard’s conversion leveled matters, but Quins missed a great chance to swiftly go back in front when Louis Lynagh, on as an early replacement for the injured Nick David, knocked on with the line in sight.
However, the visitors were ahead again in the 20th minute when Marcus Smith’s pass sent Lynagh through on the left, and the ball went quickly through Josh Bassett’s hands to give Murley a walk-in.
Harry Potter then thought he had wriggled his way over for the Tigers’ second try, only for him to be penalized for a double movement.
A low-key end to the first half was abruptly enlivened by the red card shown to Ashton after 39 minutes for his fateful tackle on Murley.
A further infringement from Leicester then led to a Smith penalty, extending Harlequins’ lead to 17-7, with the last kick before the players went back to the changing rooms.
Pollard’s penalty gave Leicester the first points of the second half within five minutes of the restart, as the hosts emerged firing, eager to avoid their first defeat in seven league games.
A superb covering tackle by Potter then forced Danny Care to knock on in the act of trying to ground the ball to score and ensure a one-score gap remained between the two sides.
The increasingly greasy conditions were not conducive to flowing rugby, though Quins skipper Alex Dombrandt will have been disappointed with a loose pass intended for Murley that led to a good chance disappearing.
Smith nudged the visitors further ahead, however, with his second penalty of the afternoon with 10 minutes remaining.
In the 77th minute, Leicester had hope when Tommy Reffell burrowed over for a converted try, but despite some sustained pressure and a late yellow card for Quins prop Joe Marler, they could not complete a dramatic turnaround.