Beaumont stresses need to guard against complacency as World Rugby chairman mandate begins

Bill Beaumont (right) has officially begun his mandate as World Rugby's chairman today and will work together with new vice-chairman Agustín Pichot (left) ©World Rugby

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Bill Beaumont has called for World Rugby to guard against complacency having officially begun his mandate as the international governing body's chairman today.

The 64-year-old Englishman, unanimously elected as Bernard Lapasset’s successor at a Council meeting of World Rugby in Dublin in May, claims rugby is in "excellent health" ahead of sevens' Olympic debut at Rio 2016 and the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

He accepts, however, that World Rugby faces several challenges, including addressing the global calendar.

Beaumont believes a compromise needs to be reached between the northern and southern hemispheres to establish a global calendar that better integrates both parties, and has proposed moving the Six Nations to April.

This is despite Six Nations chief executive John Feehan previously branding the tournament’s February to March slot "non-negotiable".

Beaumont has also made a commitment to prioritising player welfare advances and fostering strong, sustainable national member unions.

"Rugby is in excellent health as we look forward to the Olympic Games and a first Rugby World Cup in Asia and there will be many great opportunities to develop and grow the game over the next four years, which I am determined to embrace," said Beaumont.

"However, we must not be complacent.

"We need to address the complex challenge of the global calendar together in a collaborative manner.

"We must continue to protect our players at all levels of the game and focus on teen participation retention within our growth strategies, while also empowering and strengthening our unions through strong support and good governance.

"I am committed to nurturing the roots of rugby, our character-building values and ongoing financial prosperity.

"As chairman, I will now work closely with our unions over the next four years to deliver a strong, sustainable game for all."

Beaumont, the outgoing chairman of England’s Rugby Football Union, served as World Rugby vice-chairman from 2007 to 2012 and has been a figure on the World Rugby Council, Executive Committee, Rugby World Cup Board and Rugby Committee bodies.

He was also a decorated player, making his debut for England in 1975 going on to win 34 caps and leading England to their first Six Nations Grand Slam for 23 years in 1980.

Beaumont also played for the British and Irish Lions and later accompanied them as tour manager to New Zealand in 2005.

Argentina’s Agustín Pichot will serve as Beaumont’s understudy at World Rugby having been unanimously elected vice-chairman in Dublin.

The Rugby Americas President, who succeeds Oregan Hoskins, is a former captain of Argentina's 15s and sevens teams and a bronze medallist at the 2007 Rugby World Cup.

He has helped towards the establishment of the Americas Rugby Championship and the introduction of an Argentinian team in Super Rugby, the pre-eminent professional men's rugby union football competition in the southern hemisphere and Japan.

"I look forward to working alongside Bill to progress our plans to deliver sustainable growth for all, promote inclusivity and equality to ensure that rugby is equipped to convert the great opportunities that we have in front of us, while showing strength to address any challenges," said Pichot.

Beaumont was defeated by Lapasset 14-12 in the last election, held in Los Angeles in December 2011.

He then lost his position as vice-chairman to Hoskins when, following two ballots which ended 13-13, Lapasset cast his deciding vote for the South African.

Lapasset has stood down to focus on his role as co-chairman of the Paris bid to host the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

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