England's Six Nations finish was "unacceptable" says Ian Ritchie

England rugby team
England beat France 55-35 at Twickenham but lost out on the Six Nations title to Ireland

Rugby Football Union chief executive Ian Ritchie says a fourth consecutive second-placed finish for England in the Six Nations was "not acceptable".

England were edged out on points difference by Ireland, the fourth successive time they have been runners-up under head coach Stuart Lancaster.

"I don't think that is acceptable at all," said Ritchie.

"We should be, as a country, winning more, in terms of whether it's Grand Slams or Six Nations Championships."

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England needed to beat France by a clear margin of 26 points to deny Ireland the title, but came up six points short at Twickenham.

A 55-35 win over France saw them finish second on points difference behind Joe Schmidt's side.

Ritchie added: "We are not happy with how that came about. We did not do enough over the five matches."

"England were not clever enough"

England started their Six Nations campaign with an impressive 21-16 win over Wales in Cardiff but lost 19-9 to Ireland in Dublin.

They then missed a number of try-scoring opportunities as they beat Scotland 25-13.

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Ritchie said: "We need to focus more over five games. We simply did not take our opportunities and were not clever doing parts of the game in order to deserve to win.

"We should be going into every game doing our upmost to win, and win well.

"We have the resources, the talent and abilities. We are not in a development phase and we have to make sure we come out for the World Cup and deliver."

"We can win the World Cup"

Ritchie believes Lancaster's side have the talent to win the World Cup at Twickenham on 31 October.

They face a challenge to make it out of their pool which contains Australia and Wales, but Ritchie thinks home advantage will be key as they play both sides at Twickenham.

"I have got to think and believe - and I know Stuart and the team believe - that we can win this and we should be able to win it. [Whether] we will win it depends on our application and execution during the games."

He added: "We all know we are in a tough group and we know it is going to be difficult but there is an advantage of playing most of our games at Twickenham and an advantage getting the crowd support. I think the support we are getting around the country is phenomenal and it will grow and grow leading into the World Cup."

Jonny Wilkinson
Jonny Wilkinson won the World Cup with England in 2003 as his extra-time drop goal beat Australia in the final

Return of Wilkinson?

Ritchie refused to confirm reports in France that former England fly-half and record points scorer Jonny Wilkinson is poised to join Lancaster's set-up as a kicking coach.

Wilkinson won the World Cup in 2003 and retired from rugby last season having triumphed in the Heineken Cup and the French league with Toulon.

"We keep in close touch, Jonny is an icon of English rugby, " said Ritchie, speaking to BBC rugby correspondent Ian Robertson.

"But you wouldn't expect me to discuss what is or is not happening with contractual discussions."

Former England captain Will Carling backed the idea and told BBC Radio 5 live: "I've always been astounded why more of the great players England have had over the last 10-15-20 years are not involved.

"The experience they have, the knowledge they have, to me that would be common sense. To involve Jonny would be absolute common sense and I think it would be spectacular."

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