Scotland offer six-figure fee to snatch Ewan Ashman from Sale

Ewan Ashmann spinning a rugby ball on his finger - Scotland offer six-figure fee to lure Ewan Ashman away from Sale - Nathan Stirk/GETTY IMAGES
Ewan Ashmann spinning a rugby ball on his finger - Scotland offer six-figure fee to lure Ewan Ashman away from Sale - Nathan Stirk/GETTY IMAGES

Sale Sharks have received a six-figure transfer offer from the Scottish Rugby Union to sign Ewan Ashman with the international hooker in the middle of a tug-of-war between club and country.

The hooker is believed to have two years left to run on his contract with Sale and Telegraph Sport understands the SRU are attempting to pay a significant transfer fee to bring Ashman north of the border and release him from his club contract, with his most likely destination being Edinburgh.

The move to sign Ashman comes as the SRU look to add younger, longer-term prospects into Edinburgh and Glasgow squads to ensure the national side have better access to their frontline players throughout the season. Players at Edinburgh and Glasgow are contracted primarily to the Scottish Rugby Union – a key difference to players at Premiership clubs, who are only released to national teams under agreement during international windows.

Ashman’s representative, Ryan Shahin of Twenty Sports Group, informed Telegraph Sport: “Ewan is one of the best young hookers in world rugby, so naturally there is interest in him and I am sure he is a big part of Scotland’s plans for the future, but as things stand he is under contract with Sale and remains fully committed to them”.

Ashman, 22, previously turned down an approach from Eddie Jones to play for England before going on to make his Scotland debut in the 2021 autumn Tests with a try on debut against Australia.

Born in Canada, Ashman qualifies for Scotland through his father and last appeared for the national side off the bench at the end of the Six Nations against Italy. A product of Sale's academy, he has made 16 appearances for the club so far this season.

Scotland's other hookers in the Six Nations were Fraser Brown (32), David Cherry (31) and regular starter George Turner (29). Edinburgh's starting hooker, Stuart McInally, is also 32.

Another potential target for the SRU is London Irish scrum-half Ben White, who cemented his role as Scotland's No 1 option with five starts in the recent Six Nations and has been a key part of London Irish's play-off push in the Gallagher Premiership.

White is out of contract at London Irish at the end of the 2023-24 season, the same time as Ali Price's latest contract with Glasgow Warriors comes to an end. Price, five years older than White, will turn 30 in May and the SRU are understood to be monitoring White's contract situation with the Premiership club.

Other Scotland players who have returned from the Premiership to play for Edinburgh or Glasgow within the past year include Duhan van der Merwe (Worcester Warriors), Sam Skinner (Exeter Chiefs) and Huw Jones (Harlequins).