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Last Updated: Thursday, 25 May 2006, 15:03 GMT 16:03 UK
Ashton named England attack coach
Brian Ashton
Ashton will travel to Australia with England this summer
Bath coach Brian Ashton has been appointed England's new attack coach.

The 59-year-old, who was England assistant coach from 1998 to 2002, will join the squad on Friday ahead of this weekend's match against the Barbarians.

"This time last year I'd given up hope of being involved with England," Ashton told BBC Radio Five Live.

"Due to a twist of fortune the job became available. It was very difficult to turn down the chance to operate at the highest level for your country."

England head coach Andy Robinson said: "It's great to have Brian back in the senior coaching team - he brings a wealth of experience with him."

The world champions now have a new-look coaching team in place ahead of this summer's tour of Australia.

The appointments of defensive coach Mike Ford and forwards coach John Wells were announced on Tuesday.

I have been happy with the way the RFU conducted these negotiations

Bob Calleja
Bath chief executive

Negotiations between the Rugby Football Union and Bath about Ashton's release had initially been acrimonious.

Bath chief executive Bob Calleja claimed the club had not been contacted about Ashton and his RFU counterpart, Francis Baron, responded by saying this was a lie.

But, in announcing Ashton's appointment, Baron said: "Bath have been very co-operative throughout the whole process.

"We have agreed a compensation package with them and I would like to thank Bob Calleja and Bath Rugby for their support."

Calleja said: "I have been happy with the way the RFU conducted these negotiations.

"On behalf of Bath Rugby I'd like to wish Brian all the best in his new role and thank him for his contribution to the club over the last few months."

Ashton's departure leaves Bath searching for an entirely new coaching team after the earlier losses of forwards coach Michael Foley to Australia and skills coach Richard Graham to Saracens.

RFU chief hits back in Ashton row
10 May 06 |  Rugby Union
Ford & Wells join England set-up
23 May 06 |  Internationals
Ashton's legacy
01 Nov 05 |  English

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