Rugby World Cup 2015: England can lift trophy, says RFU chief

By Chris JonesBBC Radio 5 live
England celebrate
England defeated Australia in the last of their four Autumn internationals

Rugby Football Union chief executive Ian Ritchie is confident England can win the World Cup, despite an underwhelming autumn campaign.

Stuart Lancaster's side lost to New Zealand and South Africa at Twickenham in November, before recovering to defeat Samoa and Australia.

"My confidence has not been dented," Ritchie told BBC Sport.

"But we are absolutely committed to doing everything possible to make sure we win the World Cup."

The indifferent autumn came after a 3-0 summer series defeat in New Zealand, meaning that, at one point, the 2015 World Cup hosts had suffered five successive defeats.

"Nobody likes losing five games in a row, but four of them were against New Zealand and three of them away [from home]," added Ritchie.

"The margins are very small. We are in a highly competitive place and by the time we get into next year we will be very strong contenders."

"I feel very confident about what is going to happen next year. We should expect to win, and we certainly have the desire and capability to win."

A number of potential front-line players missed the autumn series through injury, but Ritchie refused to use that as an excuse and insists England should be expected to win every game they play.

"We have great strength in depth in England," he said. "We have a lot of people who have learnt a lot from the last four internationals."

The RFU recently extended Lancaster's contract until 2020 - along with those of his assistants Andy Farrell, Mike Catt and Graham Rowntree - and Ritchie remains adamant the right structure is in place to ensure England are successful.

"We are in a good place as far as next year is concerned," he said.

"We have a very good coaching team, a very good squad of players, and I think we will be absolutely up there."

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