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Agustin Pichot claims he was betrayed in World Rugby chairman vote

(Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Defeated World Rugby chairman candidate Agustin Pichot has claimed he was betrayed by Rugby Africa president Khaled Babbou in a move that cost him top spot in the game’s governing body.

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The former Argentina captain lost to incumbent chairman Sir Bill Beaumont last month in a tightly-contested 28-23 vote count.

Speaking on Argentine television, Pichot lambasted Babbou for switching allegiances at the eleventh hour as he hinted at shady dealings being the motive behind the late crossover.

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“That betrayal occurred in the last days,” the 45-year-old told TNT Sports.

“You are going to know why I was betrayed, favours are being made on the edge of ethics. On our side you will not find any type of negotiation. It was done that way and for that reason we lost. I would not have done it in any other way.

“We were 23-23 with 24 hours to go. Africa did what it did and we lost.”

It is widely speculated that Rugby Africa wasn’t the only organisation to have thrown their lot in with Beaumont despite initially backing Pichot, as Samoa allegedly also switched their vote, according to a report from the Daily Telegraph.

Pichot, who served under Beaumont as World Rugby vice-chairman over the past four years, has since resigned from his position on the World Rugby Council.

The former 71-test star was considered a far more progressive candidate for the chairman role as he advocated for the enhancement of developing rugby nations and inception of a “global game”.

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“The only reason I have been a part of World Rugby to this day, and which in turn is the same one that has moved me to run for president, is the conviction that World Rugby needs change,” he said at the time of his resignation earlier this month.

“But my proposal, which I fervently believe in, has not been chosen, and that is why I choose to step aside.

“I cannot conceive of occupying a place just for the sake of occupying it.”

Pichot was succeeded as World Rugby vice-chairman by Beaumont’s running mate and ex-France head coach Bernard Laporte.

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Flankly 11 hours ago
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The Bok kryptonite is complacency. How did they lose to Japan in 2015, or to Italy in 2016? There are plenty of less dramatic examples. They often boil down to the Boks dialing back their focus and intensity, presuming they can win with less than 100% commitment. This can be true of most teams, but there is a reason that the Boks are prone to it. It boils down to the Bok game plan being predicated on intensity. The game plan works because of the relentless and suffocating pressure that they apply. They don’t allow the opponent to control the game, and they pounce on any mistake. It works fantastically, but it is extremely demanding on the Bok players to pull it off. And the problem is that it stops working if you execute at anything less than full throttle. Complacency kills the Boks because it can lead to them playing at 97% and getting embarrassed. So the Bulls/Leinster result is dangerous. It’s exactly what is needed to introduce that hint of over-confidence. Rassie needs to remind the team of the RWC pool game, and of the fact that Ireland have won 8 of the 12 games between the teams in the last 20 years. And of course the Leinster result also means that Ireland have a point to prove. Comments like “a club team beating a test team” will be pasted on the changing room walls. They will be out to prove that the result of the RWC game truly reflects the pecking order between the teams. The Boks can win these games, but, as always, they need to avoid the kryptonite.

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