Welsh Rugby Union chairman Gareth Davies has formally declared Wales will be supporting Bill Beaumont’s candidacy for re-election.
Facing off with Agustin Pichot to be elected as chairman of World Rugby, Beaumont is believed to have the support of all members of the Six Nations after being guaranteed of France’s support.
Voting for the election began on Sunday with the outcome set to be announced on May 12, and Davies explained the WRU’s belief in Beaumont being deserving of a second term.
“At a meeting of the Welsh Rugby Union Board last week we discussed the upcoming elections for the next World Rugby chair, to be contested by Bill Beaumont and Agustin Pichot,” Davies said in a WRU statement.
“We have also consulted both the Professional Rugby Board (PRB) and our own executive board for their views.
“As always, it is vitally important to us that due and proper process is followed in the governance of our game in Wales and I would like to formally confirm to our members clubs the Board’s conclusion to support Bill Beaumont in his bid to be re-elected for a further term.
“We have spoken to both candidates and assessed their manifesto commitments in turn. We have digested the dynamic drive for change presented by Agustin and understood the commitment to progress but also stability and the steady hand provided by Bill.
“Some members of our Board expressed direct support for Bill and others acceded to take their steer from those of us who are closest to the issues at play. There were members of both our exec board and the PRB who expressed a preference for Agustin, and this was by no means a ‘one horse race’ in the Board’s eyes, but our final collective decision was reached based on evidence provided, due diligence and research of each candidate.
“We are strongly of the belief that this was the proper way to conduct ourselves, just as when we were deciding on how to vote for the 2023 Rugby World Cup host candidates – where we followed the recommendations of the technical evaluation conducted by World Rugby – we have followed the evidence before us and, we are sure, backed the best candidate for the job.
“It is this determination to follow due process in an open and transparent manner that led us to postpone our own National Council elections which were due to be held almost as the pandemic lockdown first came to us. There is a further update provided below on where we currently stand with this particular election, but suffice to say we will ensure that we respect the proper process wherever possible – against the backdrop of current inhibiting conditions – and ensure that member clubs and all three candidates are afforded the fair contest they deserve.
“Integrity and honesty are two of the key core values of Welsh rugby and they will continue to be upheld in earnest despite current adversity.”
Each of the Six Nations member unions have three votes to cast in elections, with Wales giving all three votes to Beaumont.
Beaumont’s running mate Bernard Laporte, president of the Federation Francaise Rugby, leaves France as a guaranteed vote in the race to the magic number of 26.
The WRU’s declaration of support comes 24 hours after Rugby Europe stated its support for Beaumont in an election being fought on north-south divides.
Pumas great Pichot’s influence within Sanzaar means South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and Argentina have all pledged backing to the 45-year-old.