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Last Updated: Monday, 22 October 2007, 18:23 GMT 19:23 UK
Dallaglio lukewarm on Ashton deal
Lawrence Dallaglio and Brian Ashton
England star Lawrence Dallaglio has backed the RFU's decision to hold fire before deciding whether to offer coach Brian Ashton a new contract.

Ashton took England to the World Cup final but Dallaglio stopped short of giving the 61-year-old, who wants to continue in the role, his full support.

"There are system changes that need to be made - whether that's personnel is not my decision," he told Inside Sport.

"Everything isn't rosy just because we got to a World Cup final."

Ashton was promoted from his previous position as attack coach in January in the aftermath of Andy Robinson's disastrous tenure.

England have experienced mixed fortunes under Ashton, with an inconsistent Six Nations followed by a tough tour to South Africa with an under-strength side.

Two defeats in their three pre-World Cup warm-up games put England on the back foot going into the tournament and a bad performance against the USA in their opener in France was followed by a 36-0 humiliation at the hands of South Africa.

But from the most unpromising of situations, England somehow turned their form around to beat Samoa, Tonga, Australia and France in successive weeks to reach the World Cup final where they lost 15-6 to the Springboks.


Ashton's current rolling contract comes up for review at the end of the year.

The RFU's director of elite rugby Rob Andrew has insisted that no decision will be taken about Ashton's future until after a thorough review of the World Cup campaign - and the years that preceded it - has been conducted.

"It's been an interesting couple of weeks," added Dallaglio.

"There's been no new contracts dished out yet. You need to ask Rob Andrew really - ultimately it's his job to decide where English rugby goes."

Asked directly whether Ashton should be involved after Christmas, Dallaglio replied: "Brian Ashton turned things around, but then again so have the players and all the coaches.

"I think a review will be done, by the right people. Rob will head it up and I'm sure he'll make the right decisions.

The players had every right to speak up and it worked

England scrum-half Andy Gomarsall

"There is a saving grace in that there are no autumn internationals. England's next game is the start of the Six Nations - the players will want to win the tournament and they should."

England scrum-half Andy Gomarsall gave some insight into the clear-the-air meeting following the 36-0 group-stage humbling at the hands of the Springboks, when the players flexed their muscles and called for a change in direction.

"We had no choice at the time - things weren't working and we had to change it," said Gomarsall.

"When you're on the field it's the players, not coaches, who are calling the shots. The guys - and the management - have to take great credit. The players had every right to speak up and it worked."

Dallaglio added: "We call it an honesty meeting, but it was a case of 'get your feelings out now because if we lose again we're going out'.

"The coaches said one or two things and the players did the same - but clearly it has to come from the players because they are the ones out on the field.

"All the guys you would expect spoke, the leaders of the team. I don't think we knew exactly the way we were trying to play or what the coaches were saying wasn't working - it was probably a combination of several things.

"It's not just training. At a World Cup you've got 30 players believing they are good enough to start. Dealing with media, man management, selection - it's not just coaching."



What now for Ashton?
23 Oct 07 |  English
Andrew vows to build on success
22 Oct 07 |  Rugby Union
Vickery backs influence of Ashton
21 Oct 07 |  Rugby Union
Ashton keen to stay England coach
21 Oct 07 |  Rugby Union
White hails 'important' victory
20 Oct 07 |  Rugby Union
Ashton proud of defeated England
20 Oct 07 |  Rugby Union
England 6-15 South Africa
20 Oct 07 |  Rugby Union
Inside Sport: how to get involved
30 Apr 07 |  Inside Sport


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