Former Wales and New Zealand coach Graham Henry has backed Agustin Pichot’s attempt to shake up World Rugby.
Henry has voiced his support for Pichot after the Argentine’s bid to challenge WR chairman Bill Beaumont was confirmed by the global governing body.
The Kiwi coach – who led Wales into the 1999 World Cup and paved the way for the Grand Slam successes of Mike Ruddock and Warren Gatland – believes the European nations should throw their support behind Pichot’s attempt to revamp the sport in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Welsh Rugby Union chairman Gareth Davies is one of five existing members of the current WR executive body who have been nominated for re-election – but the big fight is over the chairmanship as Pichot wants to steer the sport in a different direction.
Henry wants northern and southern hemisphere nations to back Pichot and told New Zealand media it was time for the northern countries to vote for change.
“They’re just preserving what they’ve got, but they’ve got to start looking at the big picture now,” Henry told Newshub.
This election comes at a critical time, we have lost ground to other sports, and a more modern approach is needed. Let’s realign the game and move Rugby forward, together. #GlobalGamehttps://t.co/rN5FfZF3Bl
— Agustín Pichot (@AP9_) April 15, 2020
“Otherwise, the game’s going to deteriorate and go backwards. Hopefully, the old school in the north can see that.”
Pichot wants to bring in a more structured global season and also bring greater democracy to the smaller and less wealthy nations by increasing their voting powers.
“It is a critical time and a critical election,” Pichot said.
“It is time to change, to focus our attention, love and dedication to all Unions and federations equally. Starting with the traditional ones who have nurtured our game to what it is today, keeping them strong.
“But also developing and supporting our emerging nations who are fighting for survival and relevance in their regions; to one day join the great stages of Test Rugby, Sevens and Rugby World Cups, being competitive and strong.”
Should Pichot succeed with his attempt to oust Beaumont from the top job, he will become the first World Rugby chairman from outside Europe’s Six Nations.
As a player, Pichot earned 71 caps for Argentina, before joining the Argentine Rugby Union Council in 2009.