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No excuse for poor tour - Ritchie

Rugby Football Union chief executive Ian Ritchie refuses to excuse England's performance on their summer tour to New Zealand.

Stuart Lancaster's side slumped to a 3-0 series defeat having set out with the aim of toppling the All Blacks over the three Tests.

Fixture congestion robbed them of their Aviva Premiership finalists for the Auckland opener, hamstringing their efforts from the start.

Ironically, it was the closest they came to threatening a rare victory over the All Blacks, although they impressed in the first half of the second Test before being blown away in Hamilton.

"We lost three matches so I'm frustrated and disappointed," Ritchie said.

"We don't want to go out there and lose matches and that's what happened.

"There were positives about it and we can all talk about various things, but I'm not going to sugar coat it.

"We lost three games and we did not go there with the intention of losing three games.

"What really matters now is that build on that. We'll see how we get on in the autumn."

Ritchie has predicted the end to negotiations with Premiership Rugby over World Cup compensation will come "sooner rather later".

IRB regulations forbid matches being staged during the group phase of their global showpiece, which is being hosted by England next year.

Alarmed by the possibility of five income-free months, the Premiership clubs are demanding the RFU cover for the lost revenue amid threats they will hold games in contravention of IRB rules.

Ritchie believes a resolution will be reached within weeks and confirmed the IRB have been approached over securing dispensation to play Premiership matches in the knock-out stages of the World Cup.


From Belfast Telegraph