Current World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont continues to steal a march on election rival Agustin Pichot after one of the Six Nations countries came out and publicly backed his re-election campaign on Twitter. The 1980 England Grand Slam skipper is contesting the most powerful position in global rugby against his current vice-president after Beaumont opted to pick France’s Bernard Laporte as his running mate on this occasion.

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It has led to a massive PR campaign by both factions this past week. However, while his Argentine rival has been gaining kudos due to his mandate for radical change at a time when the sport has been brought to a standstill because of the coronavirus pandemic, Beaumont’s four-year stint as chairman has him primed to keep hold of his office when the votes are cast on April 26 and the result announced on May 12. 

The unions of the Six Nations and Rugby Championship (Australia, Argentina, New Zealand, South Africa) all have three votes each out of a total of 51 and with the support of England and France already secure, Beaumont now has a third Six Nations country coming down on his side.  

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Agustin Pichot outlines his election manifesto on the latest episode of The Breakdown

Announcing Italy’s preference on social media, their rugby president Alfredo Gavazzi said: “As World Rugby chairman, Bill Beaumont gave an unbelievable contribution to the game during his first term. 

“The Italian Rugby Federation will be granting him its votes and his support as he seeks re-election at the annual council meeting later in May.”

Pichot, who is running alone, has the backing so far of Argentina, Sudamerica Rugby and Australia, who have been given Argentina’s support to host the 2027 World Cup after the South American country opted to cancel its bid.

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However, Beaumont is the contender who is out in front. He was nominated by the French and seconded by the Fijians while his running mate Laporte was nominated by the English and seconded by the Romanians.

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