Former England wing Chris Ashton will retire at the end of the season, his club Leicester have announced.
Ashton is to call time on an 18-year career that began in rugby league and is set to finish at the Tigers, the Gallagher Premiership side he joined midway through last season.
The 36-year-old is one of the great finishers in the English game and will retire as the record try scorer in the Premiership (98) and Heineken Champions Cup (41).
“I’ve just felt, this season, that my body is not able to do what I want it do any more,” Ashton said.
“I’m still enjoying the game, enjoying being in and around the team and the game every day, but if I’m not able to keep the standards that I expect of myself, then it’s the right time for me to retire.
“I’m content with the decision and, honestly, I definitely wouldn’t have been – had I not been able to come to Leicester – able to get back into the game and finish my career on my terms.
“It’s the right time for me, I know that and I’m happy in making this decision at this time.”
Ashton has made 25 appearances for Leicester, the final destination of a professional career that began in 2005 and has also featured spells at Wigan, Northampton, Saracens, Toulon, Sale, Harlequins and Worcester.
During that time he has won three Premierships, two Champions Cups and one Challenge Cup.
As well as playing for England in both codes, he represented the Barbarians, famously scoring a hat-trick against Eddie Jones’ team at Twickenham in 2018.
“I still can’t believe all that I’ve been able to do and all that rugby union has given me,” Ashton said.
“This game has opened the world to me, taken me to places I never thought I would have been or experienced and I’m so grateful for that.
“But it’s amazing to look back and see what I’ve been able to do because of both codes and the groups and places I’ve been a part of in my career.
“I’m honoured to have done what I have done, for the clubs I have played for and to represent my country in two codes.”