Bill Beaumont elected World Rugby Chairman

Both Beaumont and Argentine Agustin Pichot stood unopposed

Bill Beaumont, World Rugby

Image: ©INPHO/James Crombie 

Bill Beaumont and Agustín Pichot have been elected World Rugby Chairman and Vice-Chairman, respectively, at the headquarters of the international federation in Dublin.

The pair, who stood unopposed, were unanimously voted in by members of World Rugby's Council in accordance with the bye-laws at its annual meeting. Both World Rugby Hall of Fame inductees, the pair will succeed Chairman Bernard Lapasset and Vice-Chairman Oregan Hoskins, who previously announced they would not seek re-election.

The election comes on the same day as the implementation of an expanded union representation on the Council, and the appointment of two independent directors to the federation's Executive Committee.&nbsp

RFU and Six Nations Rugby chairman Beaumont served as vice-chairman from 2007 to 2012, and has been a key figure on the World Rugby Council, Executive Committee, Rugby World Cup Board and Rugby Committee bodies.

As RFU chairman, Beaumont presided over the Rugby World Cup in 2015, the biggest edition of the tournament to date.

Beaumont also played for England, making his debut in 1975 and going on to win 34 caps, as well as leading England to their first Grand Slam for 33 years in 1980. 

Speaking about his election , Beaumont said: "I am honoured to accept the mandate of Council to serve as World Rugby chairman at what is an exciting and pivotal time for the sport. Rugby has experienced significant and rapid growth, which is a credit to Bernard Lapasset and his leadership over the past eight years.

However, he also added that they must not get complacent, and that "rugby, like all sports, faces challenges and my manifesto outlines the five priorities focused on addressing these. These priorities are continuing to protect players, preserving integrity, enhancing global competition, optimising partnerships and empowering and strengthening unions.

Agustin Pichot's election as Vice-Chairman represents the first time that an Argentinian has served in the role.

Pichot served as President of Rugby Americas, and was a former captain of Argentina's 15s, earning 71 caps between 1995 and 2007. As a bronze medal winner at the World Cup in 2007, Pichot has been a central figure in the development of Argentina and South America on and off the field.

Pichot said: "I am honoured and excited to have been elected Vice-Chairman at what is an extremely exciting time for the growth and development of rugby and I would like to thank my Council colleagues and friends for their support and confidence. 

"I look forward to working alongside Bill, with the support of the new-look Council and EXCO to serve rugby at all levels, promote inclusivity and equality and ensure that our great sport can continue its record growth into new and emerging rugby nations around the world.”

Outgoing Chairman Lapasset added: "Rugby is in great shape around the world and I am proud that I vacate the position after eight wonderful years, during which we have achieved record participation, increased interest and engagement, Olympic inclusion and record-breaking Rugby World Cups."