The Rugby Football Union has launched a staunch defence of its "progressive, modern" approach in the wake of allegations of a culture of sexism within the organisation.

The Daily Telegraph claimed a former female employee was inappropriately patted on two occasions by a senior staff member but felt too uncomfortable to make a report.

The investigation also highlighted female staff claiming to feel uncomfortable at rugby dinners and council meetings and events.

In a statement, the RFU did not deny the allegations but insisted it wants to make the sport  more inclusive.

A spokeswoman said: "We are absolutely committed to ensuring that rugby is a progressive, modern and inclusive game, with strong values at heart.

"We are committed to our diversity and inclusion strategy and plan which we are now delivering across volunteers, employees and our fanbase to ensure rugby is an inclusive sport, at every level.

"The RFU will work hard to make sure everybody feels welcome within the sport, and that rugby can flourish everywhere as a game for everyone."

The Telegraph also reported that the RFU's human resources department produced a video shown to all staff and RFU council members, featuring a variety of complaints from employees about their treatment.

However, the RFU responded by insisting the organisation is working hard to boost female participation levels in all areas of their set-up.

The spokeswoman added: "Around 25 per cent of our constituent body members are now female, we have four women on the RFU Board, and 30,000 female players - and we invest more money in the women's game than any other union in the world."