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Saturday 19 August 2017

Ashton here to help: lancaster

England coach plays down role of ex-Ireland boss

Head coach Stuart Lancaster insists there will be no radical alterations to England's approach in the autumn Tests despite the presence of former Ireland boss Brian Ashton at the squad's preparation camp this week.

Ashton, also formerly Bath and England head coach, was invited to the Red Rose's base in Surrey on Monday and yesterday so Lancaster and his coaching team could benefit from his experience.

"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.

Creative

"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."

The 68-year-old Ashton, now coaching Lancaster-based Vale of Lune in the North One West division, coached England to the 2007 World Cup final and Lancaster knows his side need to develop if they are to beat reigning world champions New Zealand in the opening international of the season 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."

The All Blacks are the first opponents of an autumn schedule which sees South Africa (November 15), Samoa (November 22) and Australia (November 29) - opponents in Pool A at the 2015 World Cup - visit Twickenham.

Luther Burrell is the biggest fitness concern due to a hand injury the Northampton centre suffered playing against the Ospreys.

Lancaster conceded Burrell, who met a specialist on Tuesday following a scan, is unlikely to face the All Blacks.

Lancaster, who revealed the prognosis was more encouraging than first feared and that surgery would not be required, said: "He's not been in camp this week at all.

Equation

"He's still in the equation further down the line. He's definitely not out the series. Potentially he could come back into camp next week, but he won't have done any of the work.

"It would be a big step to put him in (against New Zealand)."

England's other wounded players - Harlequins prop Joe Marler (quad), Saracens number eight Billy Vunipola (concussion), Kyle Eastmond (ribs), Harlequins wing Marland Yarde (ankle), Wasps back row James Haskell (virus) and Bath prop David Wilson (calf) - are expected to play a full part in training from next Monday at the latest.

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