Cup-winning England coach Sir Clive Woodward has blasted Fiji and Samoa
for their support of Sir Bill Beaumont in World Rugby’s chairman
election that went to the wire.
The respected rugby figure, writing in his latest Daily Mail
column, has also given the Six Nations a serve while he is at it for
their bloc backing of Beaumont, declaring they had “let the wider game
Woodward, who guided England to the 2003 global crown, pointed out that
despite the 28-23 final vote in Beaumont’s favour, the incumbent
chairman had essentially won the contest against Argentina’s progressive
challenge Agustin Pichot by one vote.
With the Six Nations each carrying three votes in World Rugby’s heavily weighted system in favour of the countries formerly referred to as “tier-one”, Woodward wrote that “if perennial underperformers Italy had voted the other way, Gus Pichot would have carried the day”.
But the 2005 British and Irish Lions coach reserved perhaps his
harshest criticism for the emerging nations of Fiji, Samoa, Canada and
Japan who purportedly all backed Beaumont’s campaign.
“If that is the case, our sympathy will be limited if those nations
utter a word of complaint ever again at the lack of opportunity to play
T1 nations or, in the case of the Pacific Island teams, about their best
players being nicked by other countries,” wrote Woodward in his column.
“Or being left virtually penniless when they play the likes of England
in front of 80,000 at Twickenham — matches that gross in excess of £14
million for the RFU. Players in those countries should be outraged and
asking why their unions did not vote for change.”
Woodward said it was “shameful” that Wales alone of the Six Nations had met with Pichot to discuss his plans and proposals and took aim at the northern alliance’s closed-shop approach.