The Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) has revealed that it has decided to support Sir Bill Beaumont in his bid to be re-elected as World Rugby chairperson.
Beaumont is being challenged for the chairmanship by World Rugby vice-chairman Agustin Pichot.
Voting has already begun to determine whether England stalwart Beaumont or Pichot, the former Argentina captain and a voice for radical change, receive a mandate to lead the game for the next four years on 12 May.
WRU chairperson Gareth Davies said although there was some support for the Pichot in their ranks, his organisation decided to back Beaumont.
“At a meeting of the Welsh Rugby Union Board last week we discussed the upcoming elections for the next World Rugby chair, to be contested by Bill Beaumont and Agustin Pichot,” he said via a press statement.
“We have also consulted both the Professional Rugby Board (PRB) and our own executive board for their views.
“I would like to formally confirm to our members clubs the board’s conclusion to support Bill Beaumont in his bid to be re-elected for a further term.
“We have spoken to both candidates and assessed their manifesto commitments in turn. We have digested the dynamic drive for change presented by Agustin and understood the commitment to progress but also stability and the steady hand provided by Bill.
“Some members of our board expressed direct support for Bill and others acceded to take their steer from those of us who are closest to the issues at play.
“There were members of both our exec board and the PRB who expressed a preference for Agustin, and this was by no means a ‘one horse race’ in the board’s eyes, but our final collective decision was reached based on evidence provided, due diligence and research of each candidate.
“We are strongly of the belief that this was the proper way to conduct ourselves, just as when we were deciding on how to vote for the 2023 Rugby World Cup host candidates - where we followed the recommendations of the technical evaluation conducted by World Rugby - we have followed the evidence before us and, we are sure, backed the best candidate for the job.
“It is this determination to follow due process in an open and transparent manner that led us to postpone our own National Council elections which were due to be held almost as the pandemic lockdown first came to us.
“There is a further update provided below on where we currently stand with this particular election, but suffice to say we will ensure that we respect the proper process wherever possible - against the backdrop of current inhibiting conditions - and ensure that member clubs and all three candidates are afforded the fair contest they deserve.
“Integrity and honesty are two of the key core values of Welsh rugby and they will continue to be upheld in earnest despite current adversity.”
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