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Last Updated: Sunday, 28 October 2007, 10:15 GMT
Dallaglio slams Ashton's approach
Lawrence Dallaglio and Brian Ashton
Dallaglio listens to Ashton during a practice session in France
Former captain Lawrence Dallaglio has made an outspoken attack on the ability of England coach Brian Ashton.

He says differences between Ashton and his staff during the World Cup left the players feeling like a "pub team".

"Head coach of the England team demands management skills that Brian does not have," Dallaglio wrote in his new book.

"We had a head coach who wanted one thing, other coaches who wanted other things. The players hadn't a clue what was going on."

England rugby chief Rob Andrew is currently conducting a review of England's performance at the World Cup and the previous four years.

Somehow we'd managed to turn our World Cup campaign into a Monty Python sketch - called The Life of Brian
Lawrence Dallaglio

No decision will be made on Ashton's future until the review is completed, but that has not stopped speculation he will be replaced.

Jake White, who guided South Africa to victory over England in the World Cup final, has emerged as a contender, although he has also been linked with the Wales post.

White, who has a contract with the Springboks until 31 December, told BBC Radio 5 Live's Sportsweek programme that the England job was very attractive.

"England is probably one job most international coaches wouldn't mind taking because it's a power that can become a huge force," he said.

"I would really like to stay in international rugby. Once it's in your blood, it's in your blood."

Ashton, who currently has a contract until the end of the year after taking over from Andy Robinson last December, has made it clear he wants to continue.

He has his backers, too, with skipper Phil Vickery hailing Ashton's influence as "huge" during the World Cup.

Jake White and Nelson Mandela celebrate South Africa's World Cup win
Jake White celebrates South Africa's World Cup win with Nelson Mandela
However, it has become clear since the team returned home that all was not well in the camp in the early stages of the tournament.

Former international Paul Ackford revealed in a newspaper article that Ashton was told by one senior player to "pull his finger out and put some work in".

And the revelations in Dallaglio's book, "It's In The Blood", extracts of which appeared in the Sunday Times, are unlikely to improve Ashton's chances of remaining in the post.

Dallaglio claimed team-mate Olly Barkley told Ashton after the 36-0 pool defeat by South Africa that he would get "15 different answers" if he asked the players what the game plan was.

Dallaglio also said Ashton's approach was at odds with that of forwards coach John Wells and defence coach Mike Ford.

"You expected them to be singing from the same hymn sheet and supporting each other in everything they said to the players," said the Wasps forward.

"But I don't think that was how it was. Not from where I was sitting.

"It seemed to me the difficulty lay in Brian's personality and the issue of whether he is particularly comfortable in the role of overall boss."


Dallaglio said England's surprise quarter-final win over Australia sprang from a "siege mentality" that developed among the players, who were frustrated by the manner of the coaching they were receiving and some of Ashton's selections.

"Somehow we'd managed to turn our World Cup campaign into a Monty Python sketch - called The Life of Brian," said Dallaglio.

He added that England's march to the final was a magnificent achievement after they had been at such a low ebb.

He says: "Out of the chaos, the lack of direction, the lack of leadership, we grew as a team and I have enormous admiration for a group of players who refused to lie down."

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