Martin Corry: 'RFU chief executive right to criticise England'

Martin Corry
Martin Corry captained England when they lost the 2007 World Cup final to South Africa

England's fourth successive second-place finish in the Six Nations was not good enough, former captain Martin Corry says.

Corry supports Rugby Football Union chief executive Ian Ritchie's decision to call the performance "unacceptable".

World Cup-winning England coach Sir Clive Woodward said Ritchie's comments were "a massive own goal" and had undermined team boss Stuart Lancaster.

Six Nations 2015: England anguish despite 55-35 win against France

But Corry told BBC Radio 5 live: "It was a disappointing performance."

The former Leicester number eight was a member of Woodward's victorious 2003 squad, and captained England when they reached the World Cup final again four years later, losing to South Africa in Paris.

Lancaster's side finished runners-up to Ireland on points difference in this year's Six Nations, despite beating France 55-35 in their final match on Saturday.

Corry said: "I was quite pleased that Ian Ritchie made the comments.

"If you look at where England are, we didn't fail to win the Six Nations on Saturday. It was the performance against Ireland and the poor execution against Scotland that ultimately made the difference.

"While everyone's caught up with the euphoria of such a great day, you have to look back when it's all over.

England's 2015 Rugby World Cup group
18 Sep: Fiji (Twickenham)3 Oct: Australia (Twickenham)
26 Sep: Wales (Twickenham)10 Oct: Uruguay (Etihad Stadium, Manchester)
The top two sides from the five-team group will advance to the quarter-finals

"Since 2003, we've won the Six Nations once. France and Wales have won it four times, and Ireland have won it three times. So I think Ian has every right to make those comments."

However, Woodward, writing in the Daily Mail on Wednesday,external-link said that Ritchie's comments may have harmed Lancaster's preparations for this year's World Cup, which England will host.

He wrote: "For Ritchie to say finishing second is unacceptable just flattens the mood. It doesn't seem right and is a massive own goal.

"More importantly, his words undermine Stuart Lancaster. I would go as far as to say he has belittled much of the progress that Lancaster and the team have achieved.

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"If this had happened to me, I would be in Ritchie's office demanding an explanation."

Former England hooker Brian Moore said that England were poorly prepared for the World Cup, which starts on 18 September.

He told BBC Radio 5 live: "If they take offence at that, then they're not being honest enough, because they know they came up short.

"Everyone knew when the World Cup was coming. It's not just been sprung on us suddenly. If you're still in a development stage, then why?"

Former scrum-half Matt Dawson, who won the World Cup under Woodward in 2003, thinks that England's players respect Ritchie enough to listen to his criticisms.

He said: "When you're saying that publicly, and you have a relationship with the players, then I think those players will take that on board."

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