Agustin Pichot receiving unlikely eleventh-hour support in World Rugby chairman bid

The promise of a huge financial windfall for European nations could decide the next chairman of World Rugby.

The secret vote will be held on Monday morning (NZ time) with Sir Bill Beaumont seeking re-election against Agustin Pichot. 

In a late twist, Newshub understands two Six Nations powerhouses are considering switching their votes to the Argentine.

Irish rugby writer Michael Corcoran has heard the same whispers surrounding Ireland and Wales' shocking decision to turn their back on the north. 

"There is the possibility that [those two countries] could very well step away from the Six Nations people and go with Gus Pichot," Corcoran told Newshub. 

Pichot's challenge to Beaumont's reign came at the 11th hour, only declaring his intention to run two weeks ago, and now it appears key votes may be following suit with a last-minute switch.

But Beaumont is adamant he will see off the challenge of the former Pumas skipper, and that includes the votes of Ireland and Wales.

Sir Bill Beaumont
Sir Bill Beaumont Photo credit: Getty

"I am still pretty confident that the people who were supporting me then, are still supporting me now," Beaumont said on Sky Sports UK. 

The old adage of money talks rings true in rugby and there could yet be a major cash incentive that keeps Ireland and Wales aligned with Beaumont. 

Private Equity firm CVC is set to acquire a 15 percent stake in the Six Nations, worth NZ$ 600 million.

That's a cash incentive both countries risk losing if a global rugby calendar is introduced as Pichot has campaigned on. 

Times rugby writer Chris Jones thinks money will ultimately sway their decision. 

"For the Six Nations countries, are they really willing to go down the Pichot route, which could see them lose some of that financial control?," Jones said. 

"At this very moment, they are all looking at their own bank accounts and getting very worried." 

Those worries would be allayed by CVC's stake in the Six Nations, with the company having already acquired part of the English Premiership and Pro14 competition for nearly NZ$700 million. 

"Either you know something somebody else doesn't, or you're nuts, and this company is not mad, so they see a massive opportunity to make a lot of money," noted Jones. 

And in doing so, it continues the trend of the rich European unions getting richer, with tier two sides again left behind.

A situation Pichot has pledged to end.

"That has to be a vote for what's good for the game and what's good for the future," said Corcoran. 

Jones agrees and hopes change comes when the results of the vote are released next month. 

"It's not a healthy situation at the moment and it's going to require massive change," Jones said.

Unions from around the globe get their chance to help implement it later on Monday. 

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