Bill Beaumont elected World Rugby chairman

by AFP

Former England captain Bill Beaumont was on Wednesday elected as the new chairman of World Rugby, the global governing body announced.

Beaumont, 64, succeeds Frenchman Bernard Lapasset and will work alongside newly elected vice-chairman Agustin Pichot, the former Argentina captain.

Both men, who stood unopposed, will officially take up their roles on July 1.

"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," Beaumont said in a World Rugby press release.

"Rugby has experienced significant and rapid growth, which is a credit to Bernard Lapasset and his leadership over the past eight years."

Beaumont won 34 caps for England and captained his country to an unexpected Six Nations Grand Slam success in 1980. He also played seven times for the British and Irish Lions.

After retiring, he carved out a career as a regular guest on British television quiz show 'A Question of Sport', before returning to rugby as an administrator.

He has represented England on the International Rugby Board since 1999, managed the Lions' tour of New Zealand in 2005 and became Rugby Football Union chairman in 2012.

"The sport is in excellent health and over the next four years there will be many great opportunities to further develop and grow the game," Beaumont added.

"However, we cannot be complacent. 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.

"I will nurture the roots of rugby, our fundamental values and financial security and will make rugby decisions for rugby reasons.

"As World Rugby Chairman, I will work with unions over the next four years to deliver healthy, sustainable growth for the game we all love."

Beaumont and Pichot were due to address the media in Dublin later on Wednesday.