Rugby

Who voted for whom in battle for World Rugby top job

2020-05-03 06:54
Bill Beaumont and Agustin Pichot (Getty Images)
Bill Beaumont and Agustin Pichot (Getty Images)

Former England captain Bill Beaumont will serve for another four years as World Rugby chairperson after he was re-elected for the role having beaten ex-Argentina skipper Agustin Pichot in a tight two-man vote.

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Beaumont, 68, claimed 28 of the 51 votes to edge 45-year-old Pichot after both parties agreed to bring the result forward to Saturday from its scheduled announcement on 12 May.

As always, for many the most interesting aspect of the result was 'who voted for whom'.

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How the vote worked:

Eighteen countries plus six regions took part in voting for a total of 51 votes, thus meaning once a candidate received 26 votes, he was the winner.

The six Six Nations countries - England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, France and Italy - all had three votes, while the four Saanzar countries - New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Argentina - also had three votes.

Japan had two votes while the other seven countries - Romania, Georgia, Uruguay, USA, Canada, Samoa and Fiji - had one apiece.

That gave a total of 39 'country' votes.

In addition, the six regions of Africa, Asia, Europe, North/Central America, South America and Oceania each had two votes, giving a total of 12 'region' votes - and an overall total of 51.

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Who cast their 'X' next to whose name?

As expected, the six Six Nations countries all sided with England's Beaumont, giving him 18 votes.

The four southern hemisphere Saanzar countries all gave Argentina's Pichot the nod, giving him 12 votes.

Then things got interesting.

Japan sided with Beaumont, despite one would think being closer aligned with Saanzar with the Sunwolves' involvement in Super Rugby for the past five tournaments. Mind you, Japan had voted for France over South Africa in the bid to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup, suggesting a clear favouring of Europe.

That being said, to 'balance' things out somewhat, the Asia region voted for Pichot.

Another balancing act took place in North/Central America where Canada gave Beaumont their stamp of approval, while the USA sided with Pichot despite Beaumont having overseen a $100 million relief package for countries badly affected by the coronavirus. USA Rugby had filed for bankruptcy in March.

The North/Central America two votes were then split one each for the two candidates.

Another act of keeping the peace appears to have taken place in Oceania and the Pacific Islands where both Samoa and Fiji - both hoping to be included in any new Australasian replacement for the Super Rugby tournament - voted for Beaumont, while the two Oceania votes went to Pichot.

Closer to home in what could be seen as a fourth case of keeping the scales balanced as best as possible, the Rugby Africa votes went to Beaumont (after South Africa had given their three-vote backing to Pichot).

It's a second blow dealt to South Africa by Rugby Africa after the administrative body for rugby on the African continent sided against its own member - South Africa - in the 2023 World Cup vote. The obvious question must surely be why SA Rugby would continue to fund them when clearly they are partial to Europe.

Romania and Georgia gave Pichot their backing - suggesting they fancied their chances of breaking into an expanded Six Nations better under Pichot than to remain out in the cold under Beaumont.

Predictably, the Europe votes went the way of Beaumont, while of equal certainty, Uruguay and South America voted for their fellow South American, Pichot.

That left a 28-23 majority for Beaumont.

Interestingly, taking away the Six Nations (18 for Beaumont) and Saanzar (12 for Pichot) votes, Pichot 'won' the battle for the rest 11 to 10.

The skewed bias of Six Nations countries compared to their four rivals from the south would suggest it would take a fellow northern hemisphere candidate should Beaumont ever be toppled.

French Rugby Federation's chief Bernard Laporte will replace Pichot as Beaumont's vice-chairperson and will also be tasked with running a successful - and profitable - World Cup in 2023.

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