Chris Ashton was once tackled in a Burger King in Limerick after a European encounter between Munster and Northampton Saints, according to Dylan Hartley.
The former England and Northampton captain fondly recalled Ashton being “smashed to the floor” while the Saints were on a night out in Limerick.
Despite being on the receiving end of some questionable “hospitality” himself, Hartley admitted he got a kick out of the whole affair.
“We were on a night out after a game, we had a couple of ding-dongs over the years, and loved it. In loved going out there afterwards. It’s a real good rugby town.
“We were in Burger King in the middle of the night, I think I was eating my chips and he was ordering at the menu. Then out of nowhere, this fan blindsided him and smashed him to the floor. Like, a full-on tackle.
“The whole pub started chanting, ‘Munster, Munster, Munster’. I did nothing, I was just eating my chips, I thought it was hilarious. We got booed and cheered out at the same time.
“I thought it was hilarious until people started throwing glasses at us over the bridge so we had to run back home to the hotel. But yeah, good rugby town. Thanks for the hospitality Munster,” Hartley told RugbyPass.
‘I hit him the most crisp tackle’
The man who tackled Ashton, Munster supporter Shire Glynn, actually appeared on BBC’s Rugby Union Weekly Podcast, and explained what drove him to tackle the England winger.
“We walk into Burger King. Now, I wish there was a more heroic reason for why I did it, saving an old woman or the future of Munster rugby, but there was no real reason other than that all the Munster fans and girls were flocking around Dylan Hartley and Chris Ashton.
“We were standing there in the back, the lads were like ‘this is a Munster restaurant! They should be getting booed.’
“One of the lads goes, ‘Shire, you need to tackle Chris.’ I stupidly entertained it jokingly, not thinking it would happen. Next second that got everyone excited. I was like ‘I have been roped into tackling Chris Ashton. I have to do it’.”
“The place had gone a bit quiet because word had filtered through Burger King. ‘I think something is about to go down, I think Chris Ashton is about to get tackled or something.’
“As they finally get their burgers, as I said it was mobbed, but a big aisle or path just cleared for me to run-up. I sprinted around ten metres. Just a metre before I went to hit him, he went to take a bite of his burger, exposing his ribs.
“I swear to god, I hit him the most crisp tackle. I play rugby and I am a useless tackler. I don’t make hits but, I swear to god, when I hit Chris I smashed him into Tuesday week,” Glynn said.
In fairness to the England winger, Ashton didn’t retaliate as Hartley recalls and “peeled himself from the floor, with his tail between his legs and sulked his way out.”