New England rugby boss Bill Sweeney has revealed that a memory of the All Blacks from 2004 has fueled his desire to restore England's number one status.

Sweeney, who took on the unenviable role as RFU chief executive, is charged with the task turning around the financially troubled governing body.

The former British Olympic Association chief explained how a run in with the All Blacks, while working for their chief sponsor Adidas in 2004, has stuck with him and motivated him to return England back to the top.

"I will never forget when I worked at adidas, I was given responsibility for the All Blacks contract," Sweeney told the Daily Mail.

Advertisement

"I was at a dinner in 2004, England had just won the World Cup, Steve Hansen and a bunch of players were there, and they said, 'You are the only Englishmen here, congratulations, well done you have just won a World Cup, you will never do it again. Your country is incapable of sustained success. You will win and you will drop off'.

"It has never left me that dinner. It is not as if we as a nation are not capable of that, we are capable of that. We have got the athletes, the technology, the commitment, the passion from the fans.

"So how do we turn that on? Absolutely we want to have a big, bold vision here. I wouldn't shout it from the rooftops but clearly we want to do that."

Hansen and co's jibe has proven to be proved to be prophetic with England still chasing their second World Cup since their win in 2003.

The world No 1 All Blacks are chasing their third straight World Cup this year, while England have slipped to No 4 in the world rankings.

The RFU are currently under financial strife and have undergone heavy cost-cutting.