London - Rugby Football Union (RFU) chief executive Ian Ritchie is adamant he won't be rushed into appointing a new England head coach.
Ritchie confirmed this week that interim coach Stuart Lancaster would be interviewed for the permanent post before the end of the Six Nations Championship on March 17.
Nick Mallett and Eddie O'Sullivan are thought to be the other names in the frame to succeed Martin Johnson, who left after last year's disappointing World Cup campaign.
But Ritchie's priority is finding the right man, ideally with a view to leading the team to South Africa in June.
"There's no magic date that we have to appoint anybody by," Ritchie told BBC Radio Five Live's Sportsweek programme on Sunday.
"What I've said is that, in an ideal world, and I stress even that, we would like to have someone in place to coach on the tour to South Africa in the summer.
"The date is not the be all and end all. By far the most important thing is to get the right candidate, the right person. But I certainly want to move forward on it as quickly as we can."
Lancaster has made an encouraging start to life in the job, beating Scotland and Italy and losing narrowly to Wales, but Ritchie stressed he would not be judged purely by results.
"Comments being made about if he wins three he gets the job, if he loses three he doesn't I think are rather simplistic," Ritchie said.
"What you have to do is try to make the best assessment you can overall. We have a timetable, Stuart was appointed to be the interim head coach for the Six Nations Championships, he's very well aware of that, and I think he's doing a good job in putting his best foot forward."