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Agustin Pichot resigns from World Rugby Council after election defeat

Pichot lost the vote against Sir Bill Beaumont by 28 votes to 23 on May 2.


Agustin Pichot has resigned from his World Rugby roles (Brian Lawless/PA)

Agustin Pichot has resigned from his World Rugby roles (Brian Lawless/PA)

Agustin Pichot has resigned from his World Rugby roles (Brian Lawless/PA)

Former Argentina scrum-half Agustin Pichot has resigned from the World Rugby council following his recent defeat by Bill Beaumont to become the body's new chairman.

As expected, Pichot came up short to Beaumont by a final tally of 28 votes to 23, and has now taken the drastic action of quitting World Rugby.

Pichot had served as Beaumont's vice-chairman for the last four years, and while he was gracious in the defeat of the election, he has grown disillusioned with the direction that the sport is heading in.

The 45-year old was pushing for a greater spread of the wealth, which would see lesser nations get a bigger slice of the pie, and although Pichot could have spent the next few years rebuilding his campaign, he has pulled the plug altogether.

The 71-times capped ex-Puma has also resigned from his position as Americas Rugby president and the Argentine Rugby Union representative on World Rugby's council.

“As of today, I have decided not to continue as a UAR representative on the World Rugby Council, nor as a member of the Rugby World Cup Board, nor as president of Américas Rugby,” Pichot said in a statement.

“Needless to say, I am very grateful for the responsibility and trust that has been given to me during this time.

“The only reason I have been a part of World Rugby to this day, the same reason that moved me to run for the chairman position, is the belief that World Rugby needs change.

“But my proposal, which I fervently believe in, has not been chosen, and that is why I choose to step aside. I cannot conceive of occupying a place just for the sake of occupying it.

“Although I will now be exclusively dedicated to family and personal matters, this does not mean that I am moving away from rugby.

“I will always contribute whole-heartedly towards achieving a fairer and more equitable global rugby that we continue to take pride in participating in and being part of.”

Meanwhile, Connacht are understood to be in the market to sign an overseas No 8 to offset the departure of Colby Fainga'a, who is on his way to Lyon in a lucrative move.

The Australian will leave a huge void at the Sportsground, having been outstanding in his two years with the club, and Connacht are now understandably keen to sign a quality replacement.

Andy Friend is expected to add several fresh faces to his squad for next season, and while any overseas signing would have be be signed off by the IRFU, Connacht are hopeful of bolstering their back-row options.

“Whenever you lose a player of that ability it is a reasonably large hole to fill,” Friend said back in February.

“We are in the process of trying to fill that hole at the minute. Hopefully in the next period of time we will be able to make some announcements on that."

Another player on the move is former Ireland U-20 winger Angus Kernohan. Ulster announced yesterday, that the 21-year old would leave the province this summer.

Although the move has not yet been officially announced, Kernohan will be playing his rugby in England next season, as he has signed a two-year deal with Championship side Ealing Trailfinders.

Ealing, who were second in the table of England's second tier before Covid-19 brought the season to a halt, are one of the country's most ambitious clubs, and have their sights sets on breaking into the Premiership.

Kernohan will be hoping to see more game time with his new club after finding it tough to get regular minutes with his home province this season.

Elsewhere, former World Cup winner Nehe Milner-Skudder will join the Highlanders ahead of the start of Super Rugby Aotearoa next month.

Milner-Skudder was due to join Toulon, but a shoulder injury scuppered his big-money move to France, and the winger will now focus his attention on relaunching his career in New Zealand.

The 29-year old winger was sensational when he broke onto the international scene in 2015, as he helped the All Blacks win the World Cup that same year.

Former Hurricanes man Milner-Skudder won the last of 13 caps in November 2018, but he has been handed a chance to reignite his international career under new Kiwi head coach Ian Foster, as he links up with his new club, the Highlanders.

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