Newly-elected World Rugby vice-chairman Bernard Laporte has urged defeated chairman candidate Agustin Pichot not to walk away from the sport following his tight election defeat.

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Pitted against incumbent chairman Sir Bill Beaumont, the ex-Argentina captain was widely considered the underdog in the two-man race despite his comparatively progressive stance towards changing the status quo within the global game.

A strong advocate for the progression of developing rugby nations and the enhancement of the sport’s status across the board, Pichot fell just short of taking World Rugby’s hot seat after losing to Beaumont by a slender margin of just five votes.

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The 45-year-old is now weighing up his options as his four-year tenure under Beaumont as vice-president comes to a close, but his successor has called for Pichot to remain in rugby governance.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, former France coach Laporte suggested rugby would be worse off without Pichot’s influence, and pleaded that the former 71-test captain to stay on board with the sport in some capacity.

“I have a good relationship with Agustin and we need men with energy and passion to continue in rugby,” Laporte told Sportsmail.

“He was not happy about the politics of Bill but this is democracy. The vote was close — 28-23 — and we have to analyse this. Pichot is a great man and we have to learn from him.”

The Daily Mail reports that Pichot’s defeat came after the final two swing voters – Africa and Japan – opted to back Beaumont.

A report out of Japanese media outlet Nikkei Sports claimed that Japan’s allegiance to Beaumont’s bid came with a promise from the former England and British and Irish Lions captain that would promote the nation’s status to tier one from tier two.

An announcement is expected in the coming days, according to Nikkei Sports, which would make Japan the 11th tier one nation alongside the Six Nations and Rugby Championship members.

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