Ashton presence won’t change England

Date published: October 29 2014

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England head coach Stuart Lancaster played down the presence of attack guru Brian Ashton at their training base in Surrey this week.

England head coach Stuart Lancaster has played down the presence of attack guru Brian Ashton at their training base in Surrey this week.

He said there would be no big changes to his side’s strategy and tactics during next month’s internationals despite Ashton’s involvement.

Lancaster said it would be wrong to read too much into Ashton’s involvement just under a year from England staging the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

“I don’t want to create something that’s not there,” Lancaster said. “It’s for me to sit down and chat. Different ideas, different perspective.

“He’s developed a lot of players, but actually he’s developed a lot of coaches. He’s somebody I’ve always stayed in contact with.

“He’s a very creative attacking coach (but) we’re not going to change anything we’re not already doing. I think the way in which we try and play the game will remain the same.”

However, while England boast a world-class set of forwards, doubts remain about whether they have the backs to test the likes of world champions New Zealand, their opening opponents next month when the All Blacks come to Twickenham on November 8.

“In terms of our attacking mindset, I think we’ve always had a strong one,” Lancaster said.

“We need to beat New Zealand by scoring tries as well as kicking points.”

New Zealand are England’s first opponents of an end-of-year schedule which sees South Africa (November 15), Samoa (November 22) and Australia (November 29) – opponents in Pool A at the 2015 World Cup – also visiting Twickenham.

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