BILL BEAUMONT’S BID to depose Bernard Lapasset as head of the International Rugby Board (IRB) looks set to end in a narrow defeat.
Beaumont, the former England captain and the current IRB vice-chairman, is at the centre of a hemispheric tug o’war as he attempts to win support ahead of today’s crucial ballot in Las Vegas.
The Guardian reports that Lapasset currently has 14 votes to Beaumont’s 12, leaving the Frenchman on course to retain the office for a second four-year period.
New Zealand has joined the Home Nations and Ireland in supporting Beaumont while the French and Italian delegations have aligned themselves with the rest of the Southern Hemisphere in favouring Lapasset.
In their pre-election promises, the two candidates presented conflicting visions for the future of rugby under their stewardship. Beaumont wants to concentrate on developing top tier countries in order to boost income from high-profile games, while Lapasset has endeared himself to the game’s emerging nations by pledging to support them ahead of rugby’s debut as an Olympic sport in 2016.