ENGLAND were expected to unveil Brian Ashton as their new rugby union head coach today.
Rob Andrew, England's director of elite rugby, will present his recommendation for Andy Robinson's successor to the Rugby Football Union management board this morning.
The board will then rubber- stamp Andrew's proposal with current attack coach Ashton charged with leading the world champions out of one of the darkest periods in the nation's rugby history.
Ashton's first opportunity to banish memories of the failed previous regime will be the Six Nations opener against Scotland at Twickenham on February 3.
The 60-year-old's only other experience as an international head coach was an unsuccessful stint with Ireland between 1997 and 1998 and he went on to join England's coaching staff under Sir Clive Woodward shortly after.
He then landed an appointment as RFU national academy manager before linking up with England again seven months ago following a short second period in charge at Bath.
Former England captain Phil de Glanville, pictured, would welcome the appointment of Ashton - but only in a coaching capacity.
There have been calls for Andrew to add a managerial figure to the existing coaching structure.
But all the high-profile candidates such as Warren Gatland, Nick Mallett and Eddie Jones have distanced themselves from the post while Dean Richards insists he's not been approached.
De Glanville, who won 38 caps and played under Ashton at Bath, believes the 60-year-old has few peers as a coach but maintains England should look elsewhere for a manager.
"Brian is a world class coach," he said.
"He's certainly the man to be leading the way England play.
"But I don't know what the remit for Andy Robinson's replacement will be. What will his job involve exactly?
"If it includes everything Andy Robinson was doing, then some of those areas needed a manager rather than a head coach.
"The liaison with the Rugby Football Union and clubs is a big element of the job. These things can get in the way of the coaching experience that the players get.
"Brian has always enjoyed pure coaching and if that's the role then fantastic. As far as I'm concerned, there's no one better."