Ashton rules out role with Lions

Newly reappointed England head coach Brian Ashton has ruled himself out of taking any role with the British and Irish Lions on their 2009 tour to South Africa.

His predecessor Andy Robinson picked up criticism for joining the Lions in 2005 on the tour of New Zealand. There is talk of a tour to Argentina in the Northern Hemisphere’s summer and Ashton has insisted that he will remain loyal to England.

England have benfited in the pasts from tours to Argentina with players like Phil Vickery captaining secondary England teams.

“I look at the way forward in three stages.” Ashton told PA Sport.

“In 2008 there is the Six Nations and the New Zealand tour, the next period is to the end of the 2009 Argentina tour and then we ought to be in a good position to move forward to the 2011 World Cup.

“There are short, medium and long-term objectives over the next four years.

“If I am still England head coach I will not be involved in the Lions. I will go to Argentina.”

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