Rugby needs a new direction, says Luke Fitzgerald and Nick Evans
Last Updated: 06/05/20 3:54pm
Luke Fitzgerald and Nick Evans agree that World Rugby has missed the opportunity to head in a new direction.
Bill Beaumont was recently re-elected as the chairman of World Rugby, fighting off the challenge from his vice-chairman Agustin Pichot and will stay at the head of the governing body for the next four years.
Beaumont won with a slim 28-23 majority of the votes, World Rugby announced, while Bernard Laporte - the French Rugby Federation President - was voted in as the new vice-chairman.
The game is at a crossroads with plenty of issues to sort including a desire to align northern and southern hemispheres seasons.
Ireland and British and Irish Lions winger Luke Fitzgerald would have liked to have seen a change at the top and believes it was an opportunity missed.
"He (Bill Beaumont) is obviously extremely well respected throughout the game and he obviously played the political game quite well from what I have read," said Fitzgerald on the Rugby Show.
"Anyone who has Bernard Laporte in their corner seems to do well as fans will remember from the 2023 World Cup bid.
"I do like the mandate that he has but there are lots of issues within the game that I think need to be looked at.
"I would like to see more of an alignment between the northern hemisphere and the southern hemisphere season, I think it would be a great spectacle and give more people an opportunity to watch more of the best quality rugby more often. I think that would strengthen the game.
"I also think that within that there is the opportunity to grow the game and I think I would have been in favour of having Agustin Pichot in there in terms of having some new ideas.
"I like his ideas for growing the game particularly the video game but also being more inclusive and looking to grow all strands of the game.
"I just feel that it might be an opportunity missed."
Former All Black and Harlequins legend Nick Evans agrees that rugby needs alignment to heal the north vs south divide but does not think that the southern hemisphere will get what they want to change the game with Sir Bill Beaumont back in charge.
"The short answer is no," said Evans.
"Luke has used the word a few times and that is alignment. You look at great organisations - We were discussing the show the Last Dance and the Chicago Bulls. Players to players and coaches to coaches - they had alignment.
"It is something we are trying to strive for at quins but it is not an easy thing to do. We have to have it at the top of the game. An alignment of thinking which we don't have at the moment.
"You have the Six Nations trying to protect what they have got - which I understand as it is very lucrative competition and the league over here is brilliant with the premiership and European rugby.
"But the Southern hemisphere want change - they need change. Super Rugby is not what it used to be it is not pulling in the crowds or the money. You see what is happening in Australia and in South Africa and the Island Nations are caught in the middle.
"For me this was the perfect time for rugby to have a professional clear out. We do it as professionals, you look at what is not working, things that need to change and adapting and you put in strategies to make it happen,
"Rugby was at a crossroads where it as the perfect time to find a new direction."