Only the best for England job

RFU CEO Ian Ritchie says they are not willing to compromise on credentials when appointing the new England head coach.

Addressing the media on Wednesday, Ritchie insisted that the appointment of the new head coach will not be rushed by the short turnaround ahead of the 2016 Six Nations tournament which starts in February.

'The most important thing is to get the right person,' he said. 'It's very important we get a head coach of proven international experience. Speed is important, but the right person is more important.'

England's early exit at the recent World Cup all but concluded Stuart Lancaster’s tenure in charge of the national team. Lancaster was appointed as head coach in 2012 and had achieved some success in Six Nations tournaments, but ultimately his lack of international coaching experience led to the host nation’s failure to advance beyond the World Cup pool stage.

Ritchie maintained the decision to replace Lancaster was unanimously accepted by the governing body’s board. This was after the panel’s review of England’s World Cup campaign and a lengthy discussion between himself and Lancaster.

‘We conducted a comprehensive review. The panel saw 29 people, I spoke privately and at length with another 30 people and gave those views back into the panel,’ he said. ‘After the conclusion of the panel, I spent several hours with Stuart and together we concluded that it was time for a change of head coach. This action was unanimously endorsed by the RFU board.’

Domestically, England are thin on potential head coach candidates with international experience, and this opens the door for appointing an international coach of the England team. Coaches already linked with the job include South Africa’s 2007 World Cup-winning coach Jake White and Australia’s Michael Cheika, who coached the Wallabies to the 2015 final.

Ritchie added that Stuart Lancaster would not be retained in any capacity within the RFU, but that his assistant coaches Graham Rowntree, Andy Farrell and Mike Catt would remain in their positions. Their future with the England team would be decided by the new head coach once appointed.

Photo: Ian Walton/Getty Images

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Mariette Adams