BRIAN Ashton, who has helped galvanise Fylde RFC into a promotion force this season, has committed himself to the club.
He has been named technical director at the Woodlands for next season, staying loyal to Fylde after turning down overtures from Premiership clubs.
Fylde say they are delighted to have secured the services of a man rated among the best coaches in the world.
He will continue to work in tandem with head coach Mark Nelson. The pair have steered Fylde to the verge of the National League Two North title – they are runaway leaders and victory over Manchester at Ansdell on Saturday will confirm them as champions.
As much as the Ashton deal will delight Fylde, it will dismay Sale Sharks, one of the top clubs keen to secure his services.
The rugby world has turned full circle for Ashton, who steered England to the final of the rugby union World Cup four years ago.
For it was at Fylde that he started as a player, operating as an inventive scrum-half.
As part of his deal, Ashton, 60, will develop his rugby, sport and management coaching services at Fylde in a new venture launched by the club.
Chairman Mike Brennand said: “It is fantastic Brian has chosen to remain with us, committing himself to first team coaching and working with schools, other clubs and companies within the framework of a new company owned by the club.
“His innovative approach to coaching has brought a vibrancy and spectacle to the first team and has brought the best out of players who never realised what talent they had.
“We believe that this will act as a catalyst in introducing new players who want to be coached by one of the best in the world.”
Ashton said: “I have really enjoyed my time at Fylde and this deal strikes the perfect balance for me next season.”