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Ian Ritchie is worth every penny - Richard Cockerill

Published 01/12/2015

New England head coach Eddie Jones officially starts work on Tuesday
New England head coach Eddie Jones officially starts work on Tuesday

England chief Ian Ritchie is "worth every penny" of his £600,000 salary, according to Richard Cockerill.

Leicester boss Cockerill insists chief executive Ritchie "runs the business very well", following the Rugby Football Union (RFU) confirming Twickenham revenues exceeded £200million for the first time this year.

Ritchie's position has been under scrutiny since vowing to take responsibility for England's World Cup performance, only for head coach Stuart Lancaster to relinquish his role while the former Wimbledon boss stayed put.

England became the worst-performing hosts in tournament history by crashing out of the World Cup at the pool stages, but Leicester coach Cockerill still believes the RFU's top administrator merits the hefty pay cheque.

"If you're making a profit of £200million, he's probably worth every penny," said Cockerill.

"Oh 100 per cent you should separate what happens on and off the pitch.

"The business is clearly very profitable, he's clearly in charge of that business.

"I think everybody should shake his hand and say 'well done'.

"He's an important man, clearly a very intelligent man and he runs the business very well.

"So for me, no issues."

England's new head coach Eddie Jones officially got down to work on Tuesday, with the record revenue figure of £207.9million underscoring once again the RFU's financial clout.

The RFU's status as the world's richest union has been confirmed once again, after revenue jumped from £156.2million last year.

New coach Jones must work quickly to be ready to select his first Elite Player Squad (EPS) in early January.

Allied to a big decision over the captaincy, former Australia and Japan boss Jones must also now appoint his backroom staff.

Lancaster's assistants Andy Farrell, Graham Rowntree and Mike Catt should learn their fates shortly. Jones has carte blanche to wield the RFU's chequebook to build his preferred coaching line-up.

Leicester boss Cockerill believes Jones would be "silly" not to at least consider the merits of adding experienced English coaches to his backroom staff.

Exeter's Rob Baxter, Northampton's Jim Mallinder and Worcester's Dean Ryan could be in the mix to join Jones' new-look England, and Cockerill admits recruiting from the Premiership could prove a shrewd move.

"There are a lot of good, English coaches that are plying their trade as directors of rugby or assistant coaches," said Cockerill.

"And they have a lot of experience of the Premiership, the players and northern hemisphere rugby.

"I know Eddie's coached at club level in England.

"But I think it would sensible to look at that. Whether the right people are available, or that's the right balance or mix, I don't know.

"That's up to Eddie to decide, but he's a smart coach, he's a head coach that actually likes to coach, he's not a guy that just organises.

"So he'll want to run it his way.

"There's a lot of good, young talent within the English coaching set-ups within the clubs, and it would probably be silly at least not to have a look at those, because there's some good skill-sets there."

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