Unions are currently voting on the position, with the result due to be announced on Tuesday May 12.
Beaumont has held the role since 2016, but faces stiff competition from former Argentina international Pichot, who has outlined a number of ambitious ideas that he believes will bring the game forward and expand it on a global scale.
Quinlan, who represented Munster over 200 times, believes there has not been enough detail in either candidate’s bid, but that overall Beaumont represents “a safer pair of hands” as Unions consider the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The current pandemic will probably awaken a lot of unions, particularly in the northern hemisphere, as to their financial positions and the lack of potential investment and financial growth a Nations League could generate,” Quinlan told Off the Ball.
“We’ve had this discussion before about Italy’s participation in the Six Nations, should there be relegation there… it’s driven by finances and I think this will be a big wake-up call for the unions about the possibility.
“There’s not a lot of difference in both manifestos from Gus Pichot and Bill Beaumont, so it’s hard to look at each manifesto and say, ‘well, I’m going to vote for one or the other’. They’re quite similar. Player welfare is a big part of it, the global season, the Nations League, all that kind of stuff.
“I think Bill Beaumont is probably a safer pair of hands… Gus Pichot is certainly going to bring a huge amount of enthusiasm and vision, but it’s quite difficult to decipher from both of their bids who is going to do what different.”
Regardless of the result, Quinlan believes there will be some major changes introduced over the next few years.
“I think we’re going to see some change in the global game,” he said.
“Both of their manifestos talk a lot about change and the need for change – it’s a kind of north versus south scenario. The northern hemisphere are backing Bill Beaumont, the southern hemisphere are backing Agustín Pichot.
“There is this perception about rugby that it’s run by older people with very set mindsets who want to keep that control. If he wants to get and garner support… he’s got to make sure he lets people have their voices and their opinions.
“That’s what Pichot has done, he’s been really open about how he wants more equality right across the game. Hopefully we will see some change in a positive way.”
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now