Life in Edinburgh Offers Home Comforts for Ashman

Life in Edinburgh Offers Home Comforts for Ashman

After stints living in Canada and Manchester, Ewan Ashman is now relishing life in Edinburgh as he experiences a first full Guinness Six Nations campaign.

Ashman made the switch from Sale Sharks to Edinburgh Rugby prior to the start of the 2023/24 season, a switch which he says is paying off. The attraction of having all his rugby commitments in one place alongside his love of the city were just two of the reasons that made up Ewan’s mind to return north of the border.

“I’m loving it, I was quite familiar with Edinburgh anyway. It wasn’t a shock or anything because I’d been here with the Scotland team going through the age grades. I’d spent a lot of time in Edinburgh and I knew what I was letting myself in for. That was one of the big motivations for coming here, the rugby team, the Scotland team but also it’s just a really nice city. I’m just loving it, the team’s great and there’s a really good coaching environment so yeah, loving it and playing a lot too.”

“It was straight away something that I was going to be interested in. My girlfriend is from Edinburgh so it was easy to convince her, she was even convincing me. Obviously it’s tough leaving somewhere you know but it was the right thing to do. It wasn’t an easy decision – it never is leaving somewhere you’re familiar with and where you’ve grown up, but it was a good decision.”

Pictured: Ewan in action against Italy during the 2023 Guinness Six Nations, his first such championship outing.

Ewan grew up a Scotland fan, despite living in Manchester for much of his childhood, and joked about the competitiveness between he and his friends when the Six Nations rolled around each year.

“The Six Nations was always a big one amongst my mates and there were a few times where I’d be watching it with one of my pals having to fight Scotland’s corner. I’ve got a few good memories and a few not so good memories, but hopefully it’ll all be good this year”.

Born in Toronto, Ashman qualifies for the Scotland side through his father, who was born in Edinburgh. Despite living over the Atlantic and in England for most of his life, Ashman has never really been disconnected from Scotland. He has worn the thistle at U16, U17 and U19 level, before graduating and impressing on the U20 stage, finishing as top try scorer at the 2019 World Rugby U20 Championship in Argentina. Ashman also earned the top try scorer award in the U20 Six Nations competition in 2020, despite it being curtailed by COVID-19.

He enjoyed a breakthrough season with Sale Sharks in season 21/22 and announced himself onto the international stage with a stunning try during a 15-13 Scotland victory over Australia in the 2021 Autumn Series. Since then, he has been capped 13 times by the national team scoring 4 tries, including the pick of the bunch against the Wallabies.

Despite the early success, Ashman’s Six Nations campaign last time round was hampered by injury. He missed out on the opening four games, but making his competition debut against Italy in the final fixture was a proud moment for the hooker.

“That first call up was huge for me. The Six Nations has a bit of extra competitiveness, but I guess it hit a bit closer to home considering I spent a lot of my childhood in England. I’d been waiting for a while and been involved in a few Six Nations without actually playing so to finally get that call against Italy was huge. My family came up and loved the occasion and hopefully I get to do it again.”

Pictured: Ewan running out ahead of facing Wales in the opening round of the 2024 Guinness Six Nations, a game where Scotland would win in Cardiff for the first time since 2002.

Looking ahead to this year’s tournament, Ewan has earmarked the match at home to England as one which he is looking forward to. Having missed out on last year’s trip to Twickenham, he is relishing the Calcutta Cup tie returning to a raucous Scottish Gas Murrayfield, something which will be a special moment for him.

“I think the England game is a special game. That old rivalry is always there, it’s a huge game and you know that there’s going to be loads of England fans coming up, there will be a big atmosphere. When Flower of Scotland is playing in that game there’s going to be an extra bit of spice in it so I think that experience will be something unlike anything I’ve ever played in, it’s a different beast altogether.”

Away from the rugby pitch, Ashman appears to be in the process of developing a Scotland-themed tattoo sleeve on his right arm, encapsulating some of his character in ink form. As he talks through his designs which nearly fill out his forearm, he admits he is running out of ideas for possible additions:

“This one is 1125, which is my Scotland cap and just the thistle obviously. This is probably going to develop into more of a full sleeve but it’s taking a bit longer than I expected.

“I’ve also got the Toronto area code inside the maple leaf and the Fraser clans emblem symbol. That’s my old man’s side, I’m Ewan Philip Fraser Ashman, in Scotland our entire family is Fraser so I’ve got the tartan for obvious reasons. It’s a very Scottish themed sleeve, I don’t know what else I should get but it’s building up.”

Ewan will be hoping for some more memorable moments in this year’s Six Nations campaign which warrant their own place on his ever-developing sleeve.

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