England head coach Brian Ashton and his lieutenants John Wells and Mike Ford have all been re-appointed following an in-depth review into the state of the national team.
Rob Andrew’s recommendation to keep England’s core World Cup coaching team in place was approved by the Rugby Football Union’s management board.
Unlike the recent appointments of Warren Gatland in Wales and Robbie Deans in Australia, all three have been awarded the RFU’s standard 12-month rolling contracts rather than deals through to the 2011 World Cup.
Andrew said: “I’m delighted that Brian and his coaching team will remain with England - and like them, I’m looking forward to what will be a challenging international year in 2008.”
The RFU were officially keeping quiet on a number of other key issues, including the potential appointment of a team manager and other additions lower down the England coaching ranks.
Andrew is set to address all those issues in a press conference at Twickenham on Thursday.
The RFU were not willing to back their man until Andrew, the elite rugby director, had conducted his post-World Cup review.
Senior players Lawrence Dallaglio and Mike Catt were publicly critical of Ashton’s leadership during the tournament, implying clearly that England’s dramatic turnaround in France was down to the players not the head coach.
In conducting his review, Andrew consulted England’s World Cup players, the management staff and coaches from around the Guinness Premiership before delivering his final report to the management board at Twickenham.
“It’s been a thorough review and a process that everyone, from the coaches to the players and the management, all supported,” Andrew added.
His review addressed suggestions of tension in the Ashton, Wells and Ford management team - and by retaining all three, he is clearly confident they have been resolved.