England set testing targets by RFU
September 24, 2009
England manager Martin Johnson faces a tough ask to live up to the RFU's expectations © Getty Images
The Rugby Football Union have set England the goal of winning two World Cups and four Six Nations Championships in the next eight years as part of their latest strategic plan.
The ambitious strategy has also set a minimum requirement of reaching the semi-finals of both Rugby World Cup 2011 in New Zealand and the same when the sport's global showpiece comes to England's shores in 2015. In addition, the document demands that at least two of the team's victories in the Six Nations be Grand Slams.
But the RFU's testing targets do not end there with England manager Martin Johnson and his side under pressure to raise their game against southern hemisphere opposition. The strategic plan requires that England win two out of every three games against Australia, New Zealand and South Africa and in doing so raise their overall win ratio from 70-80%.
Since taking charge of the national side in the summer of 2008, Johnson's England have won just five of their 11 games - a winning percentage of just 45% and are currently 7th in the IRB World Rankings. England have also failed to win the Six Nations Championship since 2003 when they also claimed the Rugby World Cup crown in Australia. But they did reach the final of the 2007 Rugby World Cup where they were beaten by South Africa.
"With a new eight-year agreement with the Premiership clubs in place and having won the 2003 World Cup and been finalists in 2007, it is considered to be a realistic, although challenging, objective to win the World Cup in 2011 and 2015, with a minimum performance standard of no worse than a semi-final place," the RFU said.
"As the largest rugby-playing country we believe we should win the Six Nations regularly, other things being equal," it continues. "We believe therefore that the objective should be set as winning the Six Nations Championship in four out of the eight plan years, including winning the Grand Slam twice."
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