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Big-thinking Argentinian Agustin Pichot to run for World Rugby's top position

By Tom Vinicombe
(Getty Images/World Rugby via Getty Images)

One of the more outspoken and open governing figures from recent times, Argentina’s Agustin Pichot, has announced a bid to run for World Rugby chairman.

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Pichot, who earned 71 caps for the Pumas, has been serving as World Rugby’s vice-chairman since 2015.

The former halfback previously acted on the council for the Union Argentina de Rugby (UAR) and played a key role in integrating Argentina into SANZAAR and the Southern Hemisphere’s Rugby Championship competition.

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The lads on The Rugby Pod discuss the possibility of the Champions Cup being scrapped and replaced with a World Club competition.

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The lads on The Rugby Pod discuss the possibility of the Champions Cup being scrapped and replaced with a World Club competition.

Pichot announced his intentions on Twitter:

“It is time to think of a sport where professional and commercial income is becoming a true benefit for all, by empowering Rugby’s growth around the world and by moving on from the time where those benefits were for just a few,” Pichot’s accompanying statement said.

“It is time to align our global calendar and demonstrate our strategic intent to attract the sustainable investment we need.

“It is time to change, to focus our attention, love and dedications to all Unions and federations equally.”

https://www.instagram.com/p/B-yIhRcAdR5/

Pichot is widely considered one of the more progressive members of the World Rugby board. His sometimes contentious views are likely inspired by the fact that the traditional nations have typically dominated the decision-making at the highest level of the game.

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The Argentinian played a large role in World Rugby moving from a three-year eligibility period for changing nationalities to a five-year period.

Pichot caused controversy in the lead-up to last year’s World Cup when he publically lambasted the World Rugby rankings system after Wales climbed to the top of the ladder.

Following the 2019 tournament, a Pichot Tweet caused more controversy:

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The public post indicated what percentage of each World Cup teams’ players were born outside their Test nation.

The Tweet drew enormous criticism, with many calling for Pichot to resign from his post as vice-chairman.

Pichot was also a huge supporter of the proposed Nations League concept which was floated last year, which would have seen a massive shake-up of the rugby calendar and introduced a greater number of games between Tier 1 and Tier 2 nations.

Bill Beaumont, the current World Rugby chairman, recently announced he would be standing for a second term as the head of the governing body with Federation Francaise de Rugby president Bernard Laporte as his running mate.

Beaumont’s four years in charge have not seen any radical changes at the highest level of the men’s game. However, a greater number of inter-Tier Test matches are on the calendar for the upcoming World Cup cycle and the women’s game is in a better position than ever before.

Pichot’s somewhat more extreme ideas could see significant changes in the game if he were elected.

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Jon 1 days ago
Why Sam Cane's path to retirement is perfect for him and the All Blacks

> It would be best described as an elegant solution to what was potentially going to be a significant problem for new All Blacks coach Scott Robertson. It is a problem the mad population of New Zealand will have to cope with more and more as All Blacks are able to continue their careers in NZ post RWCs. It will not be a problem for coaches, who are always going to start a campaign with the captain for the next WC in mind. > Cane, despite his warrior spirit, his undoubted commitment to every team he played for and unforgettable heroics against Ireland in last year’s World Cup quarter-final, was never unanimously admired or respected within New Zealand while he was in the role. Neither was McCaw, he was considered far too passive a captain and then out of form until his last world cup where everyone opinions changed, just like they would have if Cane had won the WC. > It was never easy to see where Cane, or even if, he would fit into Robertson’s squad given the new coach will want to be building a new-look team with 2027 in mind. > Cane will win his selections on merit and come the end of the year, he’ll sign off, he hopes, with 100 caps and maybe even, at last, universal public appreciation for what was a special career. No, he won’t. Those returning from Japan have already earned the right to retain their jersey, it’s in their contract. Cane would have been playing against England if he was ready, and found it very hard to keep his place. Perform, and they keep it however. Very easy to see where Cane could have fit, very hard to see how he could have accomplished it choosing this year as his sabbatical instead of 2025, and that’s how it played out (though I assume we now know what when NZR said they were allowing him to move his sabbatical forward and return to NZ next year, they had actually agreed to simply select him for the All Blacks from overseas, without any chance he was going to play in NZ again). With a mammoth season of 15 All Black games they might as well get some value out of his years contract, though even with him being of equal character to Richie, I don’t think they should guarantee him his 100 caps. That’s not what the All Blacks should be about. He absolutely has to play winning football.

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