Six Nations baptism

 

His first game in charge of England, who will defend their world cup title in France next year, will be the Six Nations opener against Scotland at Twickenham on Saturday, February 3.

 

Rob Andrew, the RFU elite rugby director, who recommended Ashton for the role, played down suggestions the new coach was a 'stop-gap' appointment to take England through to the World Cup, and no further.

 

"Brian has been appointed the head coach of the England rugby team with immediate effect from today.

 

"He has enormous respect with the players and he has massive international and club experience."

Rob Andrew

"There's no time limit on this appointment," former England outside-half Andrew said.

 

Ashton was appointed England's attack coach in May and he will continue to work with forwards coach John Wells and defence coach Mike Ford, who came in alongside the former Ireland boss after the RFU dismissed the previous set of assistant coaches.

 

Ten game test

 

Ashton will have 10 games before England launch their world cup defence against the US in Lens on September 8.

 

Robinson was effectively sacked last month after 13 defeats in 22 internationals since he took over from his former boss, the World Cup-winning coach Sir Clive Woodward.

 

"He has enormous respect with the players and he has massive international and club experience," Andrew said.

 

"This coaching team has only been together since May and I believe Brian is the right man to lead the coaches and players into a new period for English rugby".

 

Coaching excellence

 

Ashton started his senior coaching career with Bath in 1989 as backs coach under then manager Jack Rowell where he gained a reputation for encouraging attacking rugby.

 

After Rowell became England manager, Ashton became Bath head coach.

 

He then had a brief spell in charge of Ireland - where the team won just two out of nine matches - before joining England as assistant coach in 1998.

 

He returned to Bath in January and guided them to the European Cup semi-final in April before rejoining England in May ahead of their two-Test tour of Australia.