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In Scotland’s first match of the 1925 Five Nations, against France at Inverleith, Smith ran in four of their five tries.
A fortnight later, in the second match against Wales in Swansea, he scored four more, highlighting what one historian described as ‘a dazzling exhibition’ by the Scottish three-quarters.
Four tries in successive championship matches had not been done before and it has not been done since.
Until Ashton’s extravaganza against Italy during the last round, no Englishman had done it since Ronnie Poulton-Palmer, a revered figure in the folklore of the game who was killed in action in Belgium the year after his tries had beaten France in Paris.
Now, all Ashton has to do to emulate Smith and rearrange the record book, is to score another quartet at Twickenham on Saturday.
What made Smith’s exploits between the wars all the more remarkable was that he had never played rugby before reaching Oxford University where the distinguished Scottish centre, George MacPherson, talked him into giving it a go.
Born in Melbourne, he spent his early years in New Zealand before moving to England where he enrolled at Winchester College where rugby did not feature on the curriculum.
While Ashton converted from Rugby League, Smith did so from Association football.
As captain of Scotland in his final season, 1933, his pre-match talks were unusual for their brevity.
“He was great, of course but as our captain in the Triple Crown success we never had team talks before the game,” James ‘Mac’ Henderson, a back-row forward in that team, said.
“Ian was very, very fast but he didn’t know much about rugby. He was a soccer player before going to University. He would just tell us to get on with it but, by Jove, he could run and score tries.”
Two of Smith’s four against Wales came from inside his own half. After drawing a blank during the third match of the 1925 campaign, against Ireland, Smith came up trumps at Twickenham, creating the try which enabled the Scots to come from behind and beat England.
Eight tries in a championship season remains untouched but maybe not for much longer. Ashton’s opening pair against Wales, followed by twice as many against Italy, leaves him needing three more from the three remaining matches, one more than in Smith’s day, to overhaul the ‘Flying Scot’ who died in 1972 at the age of 68.
Smith, who delivered a debut hat-trick against Wales in 1924, had rattled up eleven tries in his first five internationals.
While that trumps Ashton’s nine-in-nine, it can be safely assumed that he has beaten the Scot hands down on the diving front.
Even though the majority of the tournament’s 15 players still to be played, England versus France bears every hallmark of a Championship decider, unless it turns out to be a draw.
The holders will have to break the habit of a Six Nations lifetime for that to happen.
No Gallic Grand Slam has survived exposure to Twickenham since 1997 when a team led by Abdel Benazzi came from a long way behind to ruin Will Carling’s last home appearance.
England, leading 20-6 with the final quarter looming, crumbled in the face of a French onslaught dictated from fly-half by Christophe Lamaison who finished up inspiring his team to an improbable 23-20 win with a full house – a try, two conversions, two penalties and a drop.
France have not lost in the Championship since they were last in London two years ago when England romped home 34-10.
Making it nine straight wins will demand something far better than they produced in Dublin last time out when Ireland paid a heavy price for the missed tackle which enabled France to score their solitary try, finished off by the prolific Maxime Medard.
After ten tries in two matches, England are about to find out how good they really are against opponents equipped with the best front row in the tournament as well as a formidable back-row presence guaranteed by Imanol Harinordoquy and Thierry Dusautoir.
Then there’s the return at scrum-half of Dimitiri Yachvili who has been giving England a hard time since he assumed the starring role in the Grand Slam clincher against England in Paris seven years ago.
Round three kicks off in Rome with Italy desperate to put the pieces together again after their rout in London and Wales anxious to remind the big two that they intend having their own say in the title race following their resumption of normal service at Murrayfield. For that to be more than wishful thinking, a second successive away win is imperative.
Italy under the peerless Sergio Parisse will learn the most painful lesson of Twickenham and concentrate on the power of their set-piece as the best way of repeating their home wins over Wales in 2003 and 2007.
Scotland, with nothing to show for their opening two matches but a few plaudits in Paris and a torrent of criticism over their home defeat by the Welsh, return to Murrayfield against Ireland on Sunday afternoon.
Sean Lamont, their best player last time out, called for some straight talking over exactly why they failed to punish opponents whose indiscipline left them two men short for a period before half-time.
Ireland will have plenty of motivation of their own, not least the knowledge that another defeat will almost certainly count them out of the title equation.