ENGLAND rugby chief Ian Ritchie has heaped pressure on head coach Stuart Lancaster ahead of this year’s home World Cup by insisting that his repeated runners-up finishes are not good enough.
Lancaster’s team earned admiration and sympathy for falling just a converted try short of a first Six Nations title of his tenure in Saturday’s championship climax against France, but Ritchie insists their habit of finishing a valiant second is undeserving of praise.
“Four years as runners-up is not acceptable and we are not happy with how that came about,” said Ritchie, chief executive of governing body the RFU. “If you go back through history, bearing in mind a lot of things, we should be, as a country, winning more in terms of grand slams, Six Nations championships, other things.
“We’ve got the resources, the talent, the ability. Saturday was a fantastic example of that. We’ve got to make sure we come out for the World Cup and deliver.”
Despite his dissatisfaction, Ritchie believes Lancaster, who has a contract until 2020, can lead England to glory at the World Cup.
“I think, hope, believe fervently that we’re capable of winning,” he added. “We should be able to win it. Will we do it? That depends on our application and execution.”