Rugby: The tweet that sparked World Rugby's global upheaval

If you're one of the many tossing grenades at World Rugby's plan for a global competition, don't forget to save one for Welsh fullback Liam Williams.

World Rugby vice chairman Augustin Pichot was the so-called mastermind behind the concept, viciously panned for freezing out Pacific Island nations and compounding player welfare issues across the globe.

But this week, Pichot told Rugby Today that Williams sparked the global rugby debate, when he withdrew from the Wales team to face Argentina last July - and then tweeted a video of himself watching the game on his laptop, poolside on his Caribbean holiday.

"For Argentina, that's a disrespect," reflected Pichot, a former Pumas international and now USA Rugby board member.

"We're playing the whole team. The whole nation is wanting to see the best internationals coming to our country and this guy is resting, because he has to be ready.

"I find the whole thing was going to a place that I think wasn't great for international rugby."

Liam Williams scores a try against Tonga
Liam Williams scores a try against Tonga. Photo credit: Photosport

Pichot was concerned that players were placing club commitments before national team loyalty.

"It's a question of having international rugby as the pinnacle of every rugby player," he said. "We had to make a change and that started one way, and then promotion/relegation came in.

"Then the closed door came in and the whole thing exploded."

Pichot indicated he would only vote for a version of the proposal that included merit-based divisions and promotion/relegation that would offer incentive to the second tier of nations.

But he was also losing hope that the idea will reach fruition, given all the stakeholders that need to be satisfied.

World Rugby vice chairman Augustin Pichot
World Rugby vice chairman Augustin Pichot. Photo credit: Photosport

"We're giving it a go and in two weeks' time, we have exco meetings and we're going to go again," he told Rugby Today.

"These are the models - promotion/relegation, no promotion/relegation - then we can discuss if there's a commercial model.

"Then the revenue share, what happens with the other teams? How do we help those other 12 teams not to be just a second division, keep everyone happy, and maybe one gets up and down?

"Those are what the broader discussions are going to be. I don't think we are going to get to that stage, but that's my own personal opinion."