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Last Updated: Sunday, 28 May 2006, 17:38 GMT 18:38 UK
Ashton eyes England improvement
New England attack coach Brian Ashton
Ashton has been brought in to improve England's attacking game
New attack coach Brian Ashton said there was room for improvement after watching an inexperienced England beat the Barbarians 46-19 on Sunday.

Ashton only took up his role on Thursday and had one brief training session with the players.

"The backs had a mixed game and there is a lot of work to be done," said the former Bath coach.

"But what pleased me is they continued to play throughout the game and we kept the shape of our attacking game well."

Ashton added: "Things started opening up in the second half when their defence tired but we need to run sharper lines in attack and be a bit more threatening - but for a first hit-out it was OK."

England head coach Andy Robinson said Ashton's arrival in the camp was an important step in freshening up the world champions, who have endured another disappointing season.

"Brian has come in and started to challenge the players and their thinking," said Robinson, who takes his new-look squad and backroom staff to Australia on Monday.

England played pretty well and put us to the sword in the last 20 minutes when we ran out of steam

Bob Dwyer

"That is an important part of the work we are doing - the ability to make decisions anywhere on the pitch is hugely important.

"It was a good performance. The thing that impressed us all was the work-rate and attitude the players have shown.

"It is always good to have a match and we are looking forward to the next one."

Captain Pat Sanderson, who will lead England in Australia, agreed with Ashton that there was still a long way to go.

"There's still a lot of work to do but we can take a lot to Australia from that," said Sanderson.

"It was hard work, a lot of running and it was very satisfying to score 46 points against an outfit like that.

"We know it's a very tough prospect going to Australia because it's a very difficult place to win but that was a good start."

Barbarians coach Bob Dwyer paid tribute to the youthful England squad.

"I was impressed with their enthusiasm and desire, which are very important qualities," said the Australian.

"I thought they played pretty well and they put us to the sword in the last 20 minutes when we ran out of steam.

"They have a number of players to add to their squad from the Premiership final between Sale and Leicester, which will add to their strength and depth."

England 46-19 Barbarians
28 May 06 |  Internationals
Ashton named England attack coach
25 May 06 |  Internationals
Ford & Wells join England set-up
23 May 06 |  Internationals
Ruddock accepts Barbarians role
18 May 06 |  Internationals

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