Brown targets 2018 success

Rugby Football Union chief executive Steve Brown says the target for 2018 is to "create history" and become the 'number one team in world rugby'.

Brown also says the aim must be to continue the success of the past year at all levels of the game over the next 12 months.

“2018 looks very exciting," said Brown. "We’ve got the potential in the men’s game to create some history where we’ll certainly be aiming for three tournament wins in a row for the Six Nations.

“We’ve never won a series in South Africa, with only three wins out of 13, so that’s quite a thing to aspire to next year.

“Our focus starts to shift as we get through the back end of 2018 into getting to that number one world ranking.

"We want to get to that position if we can during that very interesting and exciting autumn series, and then planning for the 2019 Rugby World Cup. We start to get into World Cup mode in the back end of the year and get ourselves ready for that success where we plan to win.

Brown added: "On the women's side we get the opportunity to defend the Six Nations Grand Slam that we have and we will have home games at the Twickenham Stoop and Ricoh Arena, which will be a double header with the Under 20s, which is a great opportunity to showcase the women's game there.

"And on the sevens side we have the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast and the Rugby World Cup in San Francisco so we've got some really nice opportunities to showcase our sevens teams."

Record investment

Last week, the RFU announced the highest ever figures invested back into the game, a rise on 11% the previous year.

With both revenue and investment up, Brown says the focus will always be trying to put all the financial gains back into rugby. "It just shows the strength of the proposition we have here."

“Our financial success is clear," he added. "We continue to grow our investment in the game.

“In the previous World Cup year we turned over £400m but we’re getting back to our normal rhythm of operations so we turned over £185m but we invested almost £100m in the game which is up, and is a record investment in the game. It is higher than we’ve ever done before.

“It just shows the strength of the proposition we have here, the commercial operation of the RFU and the ability to put more of that money back into the game."

Twickenham makeover

Anyone who has visited Twickenham Stadium in the past few months will have seen the work taking place on the East Stand.

This development will create an additional 11,600 sq.m of space over six levels and be run by England Rugby Hospitality, for fans to enjoy a match day at the home of England Rugby in a variety of ways.

“During the year we sold 1.1 million tickets here across 17 matches which is a fantastic number of people who come to Twickenham Stadium and experience this great place," added Brown.

“The East Stand development is also starting to take shape, there's a lot of steel up now and that is a substantial investment.

“There will be the same number of hospitality seats but it will all be in house now rather than external and it will generate more money for us to invest back into the game."