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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 March 2008, 20:12 GMT
Moore expects Ashton England exit
Brian Ashton and Rob Andrew
Ashton (left) will meet with Andrew to discuss his future as coach
Former England hooker Brian Moore believes coach Brian Ashton will part company with England after a mixed Six Nations campaign.

Ashton, who was appointed in December 2006, will meet Rugby Football Union elite rugby director Rob Andrew on Tuesday to discuss his future.

"There has been a lot of hysteria about this and I suspect he's going to go," Moore told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"From what I hear a deal has already been done and the decision made."

Andrew will meet the Rugby Football Union (RFU) management board next week to submit his own review of England's Six Nations performance.

It is expected that it will be at that meeting on 26 March that a decision on Ashton's future will be made.

But Moore, who was capped 64 times by England, says Ashton must take the chance to defend himself in his personal discussion with Andrew and believes ditching him would not be justified.

Moore said: "If I was Brian Ashton I'd go to Rob Andrew and say, 'presumably you'd be perfectly happy with what I've done so far wouldn't you?'

606: DEBATE
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"He was the most successful northern hemisphere coach in the World Cup and got England into the final and then got them to second in the Six Nations, despite having to deal with a lot of retirements.

"Those are the facts and the results. It was a job he stepped into; he only had seven months to prepare for the World Cup and he dealt with retirements and blooded new players."

Andrew said earlier this month that he had no plans to change the coaching set-up before the two-Test tour of New Zealand in June.

Ashton was reappointed on an 'indefinite' contract last December after guiding England to the 2007 World Cup final.

But Moore suspects the RFU has already started looking for the former Bath and Ireland coach's successor.

"If I were Brian Ashton I'd ask Rob Andrew whether he has had any talks, informal or formal, with a possible replacement and see what he says," added Moore. "I think it will be Jake White."

Former England centre Simon Halliday, now part of the Club England committee who are part of the decision-making process, stressed that Andrew would have the final call.

"This is Rob Andrew's decision - Rob knows that and is accountable for it," Halliday told BBC Radio 5 Live.

Jake White
Moore has tipped White to be the next England coach

"He has all the infomation at his fingertips and what he recommends should happen. Quite frankly, everybody else is less qualified to make the decision than he is."

However, BBC Radio 5 Live's rugby correspondent Iain Robertson does not believe Ashton's future will be resolved in the near future.

"It's a little precipitous to say that the decision has already been taken and a new coach has been named in private," he said.

"I don't think that it the case, but there are definitely question marks over Ashton at the moment.

"Club England will then become involved and then next Wednesday they will go in front of the full RFU.

"The recommendation will be to either stay with Ashton, whose record looks very good; runner-up in the World Cup, runner-up in the Six Nations but is runner-up good enough for England?

"I think nothing will happen for another week. There will be a lot of heated debate and then the decision will come."



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