Ewan Ashman talks through fine Scotland try and says there was no chance of him playing for England

Ewan Ashman’s name was probably not on the lips of many within BT Murrayfield when he came on as a replacement hooker for George Turner, but by full time he was the man everyone wanted to talk about.
Ewan Ashman scores for Scotland against Australia.Ewan Ashman scores for Scotland against Australia.
Ewan Ashman scores for Scotland against Australia.

The 21-year-old appeared for his debut just ten minutes into this Autumn Nations Series 15-13 victory against Australia after Turner picked up a rib injury and promptly stole the show with a try that will go down in Scottish rugby folklore.

The ball was worked out to him on the left wing by Pierre Schoeman on 59 minutes and despite being tackled powerfully by Izaia Perese right in the corner, the Sale man managed to contort his body and get airborne to place the ball on the whitewash before he was hauled out of play.

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There were a few worrying moments when the TMO took time to assess whether the grounding came before he left the field of play, but as each replay was shown on the big screen, the more you had to admire the way the Toronto-born forward had scored.

“I didn’t think Schoey was going to give me the ball there,” quipped Ashman. “He’s good from that rang so I thought he would be head down. Fortunately he gave me the ball and I snuck in. I think I’m just a winger in a fat person’s body.

"I was thinking of doing a rugby league one-hander but I thought I could sneak in with two hands so better safe than sorry. It was good work from the boys to get there.”

Ashman, for a hooker, has a phenomenal try-scoring record. He scored one recently for his club against Exeter and has seven in 15 appearances for Scotland Under-20s. So perhaps the fact that he got one here wasn’t too much of a surprise? "A few from riding mauls. It looks better on paper than maybe it did in reality,” he said, modestly.

Ashman was born in Canada, but his father Jonathan is from Edinburgh and mother Carole from Glasgow. They moved to Ontario for work until Ashman turned four, when they relocated to Manchester. He could have played for England and recently spurned overtures from their coaching team to try and lure him to the red rose.

"It was never even a decision for me,” said Ashman. “I’m Scottish and I think if the England guys had approached my dad or uncle then there wouldn’t even have been a conversation. They’re as Scottish as they come. It was a real proud day for me and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

“Some guys came to Sale and spoke to me. I listened to what they had to say but it was never a decision for me as I’m Scottish. I told Gregor [Townsend, head coach] he had nothing to worry about and I’d be at the next camp.”

It’s now a quick turnaround for Ashman, who is likely to be involved against South Africa on Saturday. “I was blowing by the end,” he said. “But the boys gee you up and there’s lots of energy throughout the team. Senior boys kept talking to me.

"Singing the anthem I was trying to hold it together. I was just buzzing to be there and that carried me through.”