England Rugby
Ashton in line for caretaker role
ESPNscrum Staff
November 29, 2011
Former England Rugby Union Head Coach Brian Ashton poses for photographs after collecting his Member of the British Empire (MBE) from Britain's Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace, in London, on May 7, 2008.
Brian Ashton would bring a wealth of experience to the England role © Getty Images

It is reported that the Rugby Football Union has considered approaching former head coach Brian Ashton to take charge of the England side in a caretaker coaching role through the 2012 Six Nations Championship.

Ashton was the man who Martin Johnson replaced in 2008 after a little more than a year as England coach, even though he had led the side to the World Cup final. And at the time, Rob Andrew wanted Ashton to continue playing a part with the England side but Johnson opted to bring in Brian Smith as attack coach. Since then he has been involved in various coaching ventures and working as technical director of Fylde RFC.

"From what I hear, he has been sounded out and is ready to ride to England's rescue in their hour of need," The Times quoted a "leading rugby source" as saying.

With the championship starting in less than ten weeks' time, it appears unlikely the RFU will be able to appoint a full-time coach before then. Former Leeds coach and current England Saxons boss Stuart Lancaster is another name in the frame, while current scrum coach Graham Rowntree - who emerged from the leaked reports last week with his reputation intact - is another man who the RFU may opt to call upon.

Nick Mallett, the former Italy coach, remains the bookies' favourite to take over, but he has made clear he would not be able to do so until after the Six Nations at the earliest. He would also need firm assurances about the structure at the RFU and his reporting structure.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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