The battle between Bill Beaumont and Agustin Pichot to become World Rugby chairman is reportedly too close to call following the end of voting on Thursday. It won’t be until May 12 when the outcome is confirmed, meaning a nervous time is in store for current chairman Beaumont and vice-chairman Pichot after a campaign where the Argentine underdog fared much better than initially expected. 

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According to a report in the UK Telegraph, Beaumont was allegedly leading 24-23, a tally that didn’t include the votes of Japan and Rugby Africa, who have two votes each and didn’t publicly declare their voting intentions. However, that projection didn’t match the counting from the Pichot camp which claimed it was in the lead. 

When nominations closed for the election, the consensus was that Beaumont was too politically connected for Pichot to oust him. However, the ex-England captan’s campaign was harmed by the controversy that was his nomination being seconded by Francis Kean, the Fiji Rugby Union chairman who was previously convicted of manslaughter.

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RugbyPass brings you The Breakdown, the Sky NZ TV programme that interviewed Agustin Pichot during his election campaign

That led to the withdrawal of Kean from the executive council election and woke delegates up to the message for reform from Pichot. 

While Beaumont has been left reliant on the Six Nations voting bloc for most of his support which also apparently numbers Rugby Europe, Canada, Samoa and Fiji, the ex-Argentine scrum-half has earned the backing of the Rugby Championship countries and a myriad of smaller associations such as Georgia, Uruguay, USA and Oceania. It left a World Rugby insider telling the Telegraph: “It really is too close to call.”

With voting closed, Pichot took to Twitter and said: “This campaign has been fought with integrity and complete transparency. This has been possible because all sides involved in this election love our great game, and want the best possible future for it.

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“The key to our movement is the #GlobalGame. So, to all of you, from every part of the globe, thank you. Without you, there is no #globalgame, and I’m glad this election has given you a voice to be heard, regardless of where you call home. Thank you to Bill. You are a true great of the game, and thank you for running such a positive campaign.

“Lastly, the fact you have all been so involved in this debate over our future means the sport can never return to its old ways. You are all now a key part of our sport’s future.  Whatever the result, this shift means we have already won. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, thank you all. #GlobalGame.”

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