The Rugby Football Union will not be “inhibited” in its search for the best possible successor to Stuart Lancaster as England head coach.

RFU chief executive Ian Ritchie did not rule out approaching a coach already under contract and said the cost of the “global search” was not important.

Lancaster, 46, left his position on Wednesday following a review into the team’s early exit from the World Cup.

Ritchie said: “We’re looking for a head coach with international experience.”

“Speed is important, but the right person is even more important,” said Ritchie, who added he was “confident” the RFU would get the best person for the job.

“It doesn’t rule out a foreign coach, it doesn’t rule out an English coach. The nationality is not important, getting the right coach is important.


“This is still one of the biggest jobs in world rugby coaching. The resources we put behind the head coach is significant, there’s a group of talented players that the head coach has to work with and it is an attractive job.”

Asked whether the RFU would consider approaching another union in search of Lancaster’s successor, Ritchie said: “I don’t think we should be inhibited.”

There was talk of Lancaster staying on within the England set-up, however this notion was swiftly dismissed.

“For a new head coach, it’s very difficult for the previous head coach to be sitting there within the organisation,” Ritchie said.

“We did have discussions, we did look at this, but despite the skills Stuart has we felt it was right to make a clean break.”


The futures of coaches Graham Rowntree, Andy Farrell and Mike Catt will be decided by the new head coach.

Ritchie added: “The assistant coaches remain under contract. The head coach will want to have look at what he’s got.”

The “global search” for a new head coach will be carried out by Ritchie, a trained barrister responsible for extending Lancaster’s contract last year.

The decision to offer Lancaster a new deal has been criticised by many, with World Cup-winning coach Sir Clive Woodward saying last month that Ritchie should “not be allowed anywhere near” the review panel.

But RFU chairman Bill Beaumont said the former All England Club chief executive had the full support of the board.

“I’ve every confidence in Ian as chief executive to deliver the best international coach for English rugby,” said the former England forward.

It was also confirmed that there would be no re-think on the overseas based player rules.

“That is the current arrangement and agreement,” said Ritchie. “I think that is right. I don’t think that was an impediment to what happened in the Rugby World Cup.”