- Ian Ritchie visits the grassroots club in Gloucestershire
- Gloucestershire visit is part of nationwide tour
Photo: Getty Images
Ian Ritchie, the Rugby Football Union’s Chief Executive, was today (Tuesday) visiting rugby clubs in Gloucestershire and the Forest of Dean.
The visit was part of his current nationwide schedule to introduce himself to club officials around the country since joining the RFU in February from the All England Tennis and Croquet Club where he was the CEO.
"I have been really looking forward to getting to meet as many officials and club members as I can,” said Ritchie. “I’ve heard so much about the strength of rugby within the Gloucestershire and the Forest of Dean area where I know that the game has always been played passionately and with good honest endeavour.”
Ritchie’s day in Gloucestershire took him on a whirlwind tour of the county, first visiting Aviva Premiership side Gloucester Rugby and then making the trip up the road to the rugby academy Hartpury College. Following a lunchtime meeting with the officials of Berry Hill RFC, he rounded off the day visiting two local rugby clubs, Drybrook RFC and Matson RFC.
Ritchie has already visited several areas around the country on his introductory tour where he’s been outlining his own personal views and hopes for the future.
"What I want to do is try to enthuse everybody about playing rugby and making sure that everybody wants to participate in this great sport," Ritchie said.
"That’s at every level from the England team to mini rugby to women’s rugby to sevens. I’m openly trying to be an ambassador for the game throughout the country."
Ritchie may have switched sports but, he feels, there are strong similarities in the values and ethics of rugby union and tennis.
"The ball is a different shape but there are certain similarities. Everyone at Wimbledon plays in white so I am quite comfortable with an England team playing in white as well! Great sportsmen, great respect, great discipline. It’s important that the players at the top are fantastic role models because everybody who is watching them wants to emulate them. They have got a huge responsibility and that very much applies to tennis as well as this great game of rugby union."