Ashton turns down academy role

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The Independent Online

Brian Ashton has rejected the Rugby Football Union's offer to become their national academy head coach.

Ashton's reign as England boss reached an abrupt end following last season's RBS 6 Nations Championship.

England's 2003 World Cup-winning captain Martin Johnson has now been installed as manager, working with a coaching team of Brian Smith, John Wells and Mike Ford.

The RFU received widespread condemnation for their handling of Ashton, with many people feeling the national academy job amounted to a derisory move by Twickenham top brass.

Ashton, though, who led England to the 2007 World Cup final, will provide what has been termed "a range of high-level performance consultancy services" for the RFU.

This renewable annual contract with the RFU will be for Ashton's own company, SCD South West Limited.

Ashton said: "I have given full and careful consideration over the last two months to my future career plans.

"And I have decided to develop my own company delivering high-level performance processes in all areas of sporting and business life.

"I now consider it the correct time to develop more varied challenges than just dealing with professional rugby .

"I am most grateful to the RFU for allowing me time and space to consider my future plans.

"I have decided not to accept the post offered to me by the RFU of head coach of the national academy, as this was a full-time post which would not have allowed me to develop my own business and pursue other interests."