Rugby could reveal its next chairperson as early as Saturday after
incumbent Bill Beaumont and rival Agustin Pichot reportedly asked to
bring the announcement forward.
Register your interest for the British & Irish Lions tickets in South Africa 2021
Voting closed on Thursday and the announcement was originally to be made on 12 May.
But according to the BBC website, one of the candidates has won a majority and Beaumont and vice-chairperson Pichot have agreed to bring the announcement forward.
Once that request is cleared by the World Rugby council, the governing
body will announce who will lead the game for the next four years
following an extremely tight race.
Each of World Rugby's 51 council members gets a vote, excluding the chairperson, with 26 needed for a majority.
a former England skipper, is regarded as a narrow favourite, with the
backing of the Six Nations unions and Rugby Europe - a total of 20 of
the votes needed.
However, ex-Argentina captain Pichot's vow to shake-up the sport has
earned him the support of the Saanzar unions, as well as South America
Beaumont's campaign was also mired in controversy when it emerged that
Fiji Rugby Union chairperson Francis Kean, who had seconded Beaumont's
nomination, was convicted of manslaughter.
With the North American votes thought to be split, the vote could be determined by Japan and Rugby Africa.
It has resulted in one of the closest campaigns in the sport's history
and following the closing of the vote, Beaumont acknowledged "the
positive and passionate debate" Pichot brought to the contest.
"It's ignited constructive discussion about priorities that will strengthen the global game," Beaumont said.
WHO CAN VOTE?
Eighteen countries plus six regions will take part in voting, leading to a total of 51 votes which will be "in secure electronic form" and both managed and audited in Switzerland.
Thus, 26 votes and you're the winner!
six Six Nations countries - England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, France
and Italy - all have three votes, while the four Saanzar countries - New
Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Argentina - also have three votes.
alone would appear to make Beaumont the bookies' favourite as the Six
Nations countries are likely to vote for England's Beaumont, while the
Saanzar votes will go to Argentina's Pichot.
Those votes alone should leave it 18-12 in favour of Beaumont.
Japan have two votes while the other seven countries - Romania, Georgia, Uruguay, USA, Canada, Samoa and Fiji - have one apiece.
That's a total of 39 'country' votes.
addition, the six regions of Africa, Asia, Europe, North/Central
America, South America and Oceania each have two votes, giving a total
of 12 'region' votes - and an overall total of 51.
the Six Nations votes go as expected, Beaumont would only need a
further eight votes to retain his seat ... and it's difficult to see him
not doing just that when one considers Romania (1), Georgia (1), USA
(1), Canada (1) and the regions of Europe (2), North/Central America (2)
are all expected to put a 'X' next to his name.
this stage it isn't clear what the thinking of Japan (2) and Asia (2)
in particular is. It must be remembered that in the voting for the 2023
Rugby World Cup, Japan voted for France ahead of South Africa - despite
having a team (Sunwolves) in Super Rugby.
Even more hurtful, Africa's vote went against South Africa too!