All eyes on Ashton

Name in frame: Brian Ashton
Name in frame: Brian Ashton
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FYLDE, and the rest of the rugby union world, were waiting today to hear whether Woodlands technical director Brian Ashton would get and answer an SOS to return as England coach.

It is reported that Twickenham officials are ready to turn to Ashton to work as interim coach for the upcoming Six Nations Championship campaign.

But it remains open to question whether he would want the job.

Ashton was unhappy at the circumstances of his humiliating removal from the England post in 2008, only a few months after leading the team to the World Cup Final.

All eyes were on Ashton, but whether he would be prepared to return, having happily settled in Lytham, is a source of major doubt.

Fylde head coach Mark Nelson said he could not possibly say whether Ashton would be tempted but added: “If it proved to be the case that England were interested in him, then it would be a breath of fresh air for the national side.”

Fylde chairman Mike Brennand said: “Brian is a totally free agent and his abilities as a coach speak for themselves.

“He is a fantastic coach, and though I think it highly unlikely that he would want to return to the England job, whatever he decides to do I am sure he will still have a role at Fylde. He is settled in this area and Fylde is his club.”

Brennand’s prime concern this week is the top-of-the-table clash away to Ealing Trailfinders on Saturday. He said: “I am so thrilled that we are second in the table, playing an exciting style of rugby, and that if we beat Ealing we can go to the top.”