Rugby is adamant it’s done its best to help the Pacific, despite two
Island nations going against the SANZAAR vote to back Sir Bill Beaumont
in World Rugby’s top job.
Beaumont beat former Argentina halfback Agustin Pichot with a
first-round majority of 28 votes to 23 to secure a second term on Sunday
“You have my word that we’ll be working collaboratively to do what we
can to enable rugby to grow in your regions in your countries,”
Beaumont said, after his win.
And the Pacific Islands have helped enable his latest pledge.
Fiji and Samoa both gave their vote to Beaumont, rather than aligning
with SANZAAR nations and Pichot’s campaign for a global game.
“We did our best to persuade Fiji and Samoa that it would be in their
best interests to vote with the countries of the southern hemisphere,”
NZ Rugby chairman Brent Impey tells Newshub.
“But for their own reasons, they chose not to.”
In large part, their stand was due to their inability to break into Super Rugby and the Rugby Championship.
Impey insists that hasn’t been financially viable and believes NZR has done its best to support the Pacific nations.
“I understand the frustrations, but the islands have also got to help themselves.”
They feel abandoned by SANZAAR and any promise of change under Pichot simply came too late.
“No progress has been made with the SANZAAR nations, who are heavily
behind supporting Pichot, so they’ve got nothing to lose here,” Impey
But Beaumont does. After promising much for tier two nations, he is now under pressure to deliver meaningful change.
“We will support him, but the change must happen fast,” Impey says.
The collective growth of rugby hinges on it, especially in the Pacific.