Rugby: Agustin Pichot pleads for New Zealand Rugby backing to help rescue global game

The man vying for World Rugby's top job is urging NZ Rugby to back him in his fight or risk the game suffering even more.

Agustin Pichot has promised Newshub a more global game than incumbent Sir Bill Beaumont has been able to deliver and he's forecasting a bleak outlook if that doesn't happen.

The former Argentina halfback is making it his mission to grow a game that benefits more than just the heavyweights.

"You have two different groups," Pichot told Newshub. "One is established and more elite unions in the men's game, and then you have a massive gap to the emerging nations."

And he's calling on NZR to help him close that gap.

Sources indicate the vote will come down to northern v southern hemisphere, with the smaller unions set to be the deciding factor in the outcome of the vote.

"If New Zealand is not part of this global shape and something is not done differently, then it will suffer."

Pichot wants NZR to be part of the solution and he'll need that support in the April 26 vote to decide who will lead World Rugby into the future. 

Of the 50 votes available, a majority of 26 is needed to be successful - and 22 of them are held by European unions alone. 

That leaves Pichot targeting Oceania, South America, Africa, Asia and North America for victory.

"You can't sustain the game with only two markets and the power only coming from one side."

Former All Blacks coach Sir Graham Henry is backing Pichot's bid, urging NZ Rugby to do the same.

He's calling on northern hemisphere unions to bring real change to a game plagued by self-interest.

"They're just preserving what they've got, but they've got to start looking at the big picture now," Sir Graham told Newshub.

"Otherwise, the game's going to deteriorate and go backwards. Hopefully, the old school in the north can see that."

And Pichot believes he knows what comes with the status quo.

"The rich will be richer, the poor will be poorer," Pichot added.

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