Augustin Pichot has only had a short time as World Rugby’s Vice Chairman but has already made a significant impact –
The former Argentinian halfback, now in his second year in the role, has made a big impact since he joined rugby’s governing body and was a crusader for increasing the residency period for internationals from three to five years, a change that will come into effect in 2019.
Pichot has given tier two nations a loud voice in the decision making processes.
In an interview with The Telegraph, Pichot emphasised the need to balance financial gains with the growth of the game.
“If we do everything for money then you can play a World Cup every year with just 10 countries. Just have a few club sides around the world who play each other all the time. Sell it to Sky or to BT Sport and Canal Plus. Straight away you would have 80 per cent of the revenue of World Rugby. Keep taking players out of Argentina and Fiji and do it that way. Maybe it is more profitable, but I don’t want to do it that way,” he told The Telegraph.
“What are we here for? I am not naive. I understand we have to make sure the business grows but we cannot lose what rugby stands for.
“I would love to see the Six Nations open up to Georgia. I would also challenge Sanzaar to open up to Japan and the Americas Championship to countries to like Mexico. Those are the type of things that motivates me to be a suit; the growth of the women’s game, establishing rugby in China.”
Sanzaar added Argentina to the Rugby Championship in 2012 and included a Argentinian and Japanese Super Rugby team to Super Rugby in 2016.
There has also been calls to get Pacific Island teams involved in Super Rugby and the Rugby Championship.
In 27 Rugby Championship matches, Argentina have won just three games.
The last time there was a change in the Six Nations was in 2000 when Italy was added.
Italy have not been a raging success story finishing with the wooden spoon in 12 of their 18 seasons.
There has been a growing chorus chanting for the inclusion of the growing rugby power of Georgia in the Six Nations.
Some want Italy relegated in their favour, while others want to see it turned into the Seven Nations.
Meanwhile, Pichot told The Telegraph that the British and Irish Lions tours needed to be “preserved at all costs”.
But he admitted there might need to be some changes with the current format “just too long for a human to go on tour for so many weeks” after a full season.
There is little doubt that he has great ambitions for the development of the game world wide – good luck to him.