A. Ian Ritchie says he will lead the process, with guidance from a four-man advisory panel and with the eventual recommendation needing to be rubber-stamped by the Rugby Football Union’s board.
Q. WHO IS ON RITCHIE’S ADVISORY BOARD?
A. Former British and Irish Lions coach Ian McGeechan, Harlequins boss Conor O’Shea, RFU professional rugby director Rob Andrew and former England player Richard Hill, now a coach at Premiership champions Saracens make up an illustrious quartet.
Q. WHAT RUGBY EXPERTISE DOES RITCHIE HAVE?
A. Relatively little, he admits, having moved after six years with the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club. A former barrister and chief executive of Channel 5, his background is in media and sport but not rugby union. He has vowed to improve his rugby “intelligence levels”.
Q. WHAT ROLE WILL HEADHUNTERS PLAY?
A. Eyebrows were raised when it emerged recruiter Odgers Berndtson would be helping the RFU hire a new head coach, as it did with the appointment of Ritchie himself. However, he says Odgers will help “handle the process”, for example making calls to candidates, rather than having a say in selection.
Q. WHO WILL DECIDE THE IDENTITY OF THE NEXT ENGLAND HEAD COACH?
A. Ritchie said yesterday an appointment could be made before the end of the Six Nations, which concludes on 17 March. He added he hoped Martin Johnson’s successor would be in charge for the summer tour of South Africa, which begins in June, but that it was not a pre-requisite for any candidate.
Q. WILL THERE BE A PERFORMANCE DIRECTOR TOO?
A. Apparently not. Ritchie insists the head coach will report directly to him, without any other layers of hierarchy in between.