‘I didn’t consider resigning’ – Ritchie

Date published: December 27 2015

Rugby Football Union chief executive Ian Ritchie has revealed that he never considered resigning after England's poor World Cup campaign.

Ritchie's position came under the spotlight after England became the worst-performing host nation in the World Cup's history when they failed to reach the tournament's knockout stages.

England's poor showing at the global showpiece led to the national team's head coach Stuart Lancaster and his assistants Andy Farrell, Graham Rowntree and Mike Catt leaving their roles.

When asked by the Sunday Telegraph if he considered steppping down from his posiition, Ritchie replied: "No, I didn't. When you say 'consider', did you mean did I consider resigning?

"No, because I think accountability and responsibility – you don't duck them when the going gets hard.

"I obviously thought a lot about what happened in terms of when we recruited Stuart in the first place. Of course you think about what the situation was in 2011 and into early 2012.

"We saw a complete range of candidates then and we felt Stuart was the best candidate. I felt he was and so did the advisory group that was there as well.

"Perspective is sometimes lacking. Over the last four years, and indeed his four years or three-and-a-half before at the RFU, there were many positive things done. It's not right to pretend that that didn't happen or to ignore it.

"I think there were huge things Stuart did, in terms of connection with the game and with the grass roots, restoring the faith in the set-up."

England didn't wait long before replacing Lancaster, with former Japan and Wallabies head coach Eddie Jones taking over the reins on a four-year deal in November.

Although several names were linked with the England position, Ritchie revealed that Jones was their first-choice.

"I had the opportunity to go and see Eddie," he added.

"It's not often I've had a day trip to Cape Town, and we spent a chunk of time together because you do need to spend some time together, and we got on. All the things he said impressed me.

"Eddie was the only person we offered the job to. When Stuart was appointed, I think the general view was that this was a good appointment. I think that most people seem to think Eddie is a good appointment.

"You need to make sure you make the right appointments at the right time with integrity and honesty, and I think that's what has happened."