Ian Ritchie: England rugby in "very, very strong place"

RFU chief executive Ian Ritchie faces the media at an end of tour press conference held at the Radisson Blu Hotel on June 24, 2012
© Getty Images
Outgoing Rugby Football Union chief executive Ian Ritchie believes that English rugby is currently in a "very, very strong place".

Outgoing Rugby Football Union chief executive Ian Ritchie has claimed that English rugby is currently in a "very strong place".

The 63-year-old is stepping down as head of the governing body this summer after five years in the position.

During Ritchie's time at the helm of the RFU, England have won the Six Nations in 2016 and 2017, as well as the Grand Slam last year.

He faced calls to step down in 2015, after England were knocked out of their own World Cup tournament at the pool stage, but he persevered in the position and believes that they are now reaping the benefits.

Ritchie told BBC Sport: "The World Cup was a massive disappointment. But I had a stubborn streak about sorting out what happened post-2015, and I feel I have helped deliver on some of that.

"The immediate thing was finding Stuart [Lancaster]'s successor, so I got on a plane to Cape Town and decided Eddie [Jones] was the right man for the job.

"(Now) England, economically, from a rugby strength point of view, from a playing point of view, I think we are in a very, very strong place. We just need to maximise that."

In total, the England teams, including the women's and Under-20s, have won three Grand Slams and four world titles during Ritchie's term.

England's Eddie Jones and Dylan Hartley on June 18, 2016
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