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Our Vote To Decide

Pacific Island unions will play a huge role in deciding for World Rugby chairman position with four votes.
21 Apr 2020 13:12
Our Vote To Decide
From left FRU Chairman Francis Keane, World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont and Agustin Pichot.

The Pacific Islands could hold the key to decide the chairman of World Rugby.

As contenders Agustin Pichot and Bill Beaumont enter their final week of campaign their fate lies on Fiji, Samoa and Tonga.

For the first time in history the battle for World Rugby chairman is opposed and the minnows can have a defining role in the outcome.

Out of the 26 votes required for re-election, it’s expected Beaumont will likely get most – if not all – of the 22 votes from European nations.

He would only need four more to secure his second term in charge, which is the exact number of combined votes the Pacific Island nations(two for each of Fiji, Samoa, Oceania) have.

European-based Pacific player’s manager Daniel Leo believes that the votes will go Beaumont’s way.

“I understand all of those four votes are probably in favour of the Beaumont regime at the moment,” he said.

“While there are a number of reasons for that, maybe the most telling is the fact Fiji has backed Beaumont’s nomination.”

Fiji rugby have aligned themselves with the richest nations of World Rugby. Leo added that it was not conducive to giving Tier Two nations a greater voice. Which is exactly what Pichot wants.

“You cannot sustain the game with only two markets and the power only coming from one side,” said Pichot.

“Because if not, you’ll never change anything and we’ll stay being the same.”

Leo feels joining forces with the southern hemisphere unions will be more beneficial to growing the game in the islands.

But it needs some buy-in from SANZAAR competitions.

One of the ways he sees Samoa and Tonga not voting with Fiji is by relaxing player eligibility rules, which only Beaumont has promised.

It’s the old guard’s attempt to prioritise the smaller nations.

“I think they’ve got to look at the big picture now or the game is going to deteriorate and go backwards,” Sir Graham Henry told Newshub.

And how that change impacts the islands can hold the key to becoming chairman of World Rugby in seven days’ time.

Edited by Maika Bolatiki

Feedback: leonec@fijisun.com.fj

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