RFU president John Spencer says that the sport's national governing body has left the Keighley club in a good place after their artificial grass pitch was officially opened on Saturday.

Spencer, who is also Wharfedale's president, said before the ribbon was cut: "Thank you for inviting me to help open this fantastic facility, and thank you to all of the people who have contributed to getting this into existence.

"It is also great that Yorkshire's two RFU Council members, Ted Atkinson and John Chapman, are here.

"The RFU are often criticised for making mistakes, but this RFU Rugby 365 initiative is a legacy from the Rugby World Cup 2015.

"It is a £50m investment to install artificial grass pitches, but 40 per cent of that money for pitches will be for use by the community generally.

"A total of 58,000 extra people are expected to use these pitches in the four-year cycle."

Spencer, who has played for Headingley, Cambridge University, England, the British Lions and the Barbarians, remembered: "I played on this ground and dislocated my elbow twice, but hopefully there will be none of that in the future.

"The pitches will also be used for tag rugby, junior rugby and women's rugby."

He concluded: "Clubs of your nature can be a little bit vulnerable but we (the RFU) feel that we have left you in a good place."

Spencer, who presented Keighley chairman Sam Griffin with a cut-glass decanter, played on the 1971 Lions tour to New Zealand and managed the Lions tour there this summer.

When asked what the differences were between the two, he said: "There are a lot of things that have changed over the 46 years, but we have tried to keep the traditions, such as community things like visiting schools and hospitals.

"Of course, there is greater physicality now as there was no strength and conditioning coach in my day.

"But we did very well to draw the series this summer as New Zealand teams have won 44 of their last 45 Super Rugby matches, and New Zealand haven't lost at Eden Park since 1994."

Spencer, who was on the 1971 tour which the Lions won 2-1 with one drawn but didn't play in any of the Test matches, added: "We have only won there once in over 100 years."