Historically, we have reached one of the most crucial moments in the history of the sport.
There is outrage at the game’s governance, smaller countries are tired of being treated as second-class citizens, and the COVID-19 crisis threatens a club and test level financial crisis.
In addition, it has been a long time since I can remember such a distance between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.
Bill Beaumont was reelected by a small majority as chairman of World Rugby on Saturday
The 68-year-old fought off a challenge from his vice-chairman Gus Pichot (L) in a good mood
The 28-23 vote (if a Six Nations country had broken the league table would have won Gus Pichot) is a wake-up call to World Rugby and Bill Beaumont as he enters his second term as chairman.
He has to act and fast. The first 100 days is a political term – that window of action after taking office – and Bill and World Rugby should now adopt that mindset.
COMPLETE THE PROMISE GOVERNANCE REVIEW ASAP
It would be a sign of good faith to those in the rugby and sports community who are outraged by the weighted voting system.
It is also necessary for rugby to maintain its Olympic status, which we should not take for granted. The IOC has become very popular with the democratic governance of participating sports.
Sir Hugh Robertson, president of the British Olympic Association, needs to revise the World Rugby Constitution to make suggestions to make it fairer and more democratic.
It should be fast and transparent so that everyone in the rugby world can read and discuss the findings. A timetable has to be established. Three months, not far from 100 days, feels about right.
BOA president Sir Hugh Robertson (pictured) should review the World Rugby Constitution
MAKE CLEAR DECISIONS ON PROJECT PLAYERS AND RESPONSIBILITY CHANGES
I don’t like the concept of project players – I’ve never even met anyone who approves of it – but they persist.
Abolish them or apply the seven-year residence schemes that were proposed years ago and then shelved.
Powerful countries such as Ireland do not have to recruit South Africans, while Wales does not have to strengthen their side with Kiwi centers.
As for allowing players to represent two countries, my heart sank when I read that Northampton’s Australian wing, Taqele Naiyaravoro, wants to play for his native Fiji.
Australian international Taqele Naiyaravoro has said he wants to play rugby for his native Fiji
No one doubts the added security playing for an established nation could bring and it is possible that Fiji might have a stronger team with returning players – but what kind of message does it send to players who remain loyal if they ‘reject’ Australia know, New Zealand and elsewhere will compete for their places?
It seems to me that the main beneficiaries will be the Tier One countries, which would then have an official license to take a point on a project player or someone with dual qualifications. This will certainly only widen the gap.
Sevens shows the potential of the Pacific Island teams, if we can only whip them up at age 15.
WHAT IS THE PLAN FOR JAPAN, FIJI, GEORGIA AND SAMOA?
Japan, Fiji and Samoa voted for Beaumont, so what do they get in return?
And what are you going to do for Georgia, who is constantly slamming the door on their noses?
Hosts Japan reached the quarterfinals of the 2019 World Cup before losing to South Africa
These are four countries that have been or may aspire to be quarter-finalists of the World Cup.
Still, they’ve been outside the mainstream of rugby for decades.
How does World Rugby ensure they get the chance to participate in the elite leagues? And the same question could be asked of all other nations coming through.
SHOW FINANCIAL LEADERSHIP
Rugby needs a coherent plan in these difficult times. I am not sure if people have understood how serious things have gotten. What you’ve heard so far is the tip of the iceberg.
Everyone sounds, clubs and countries. Bernard Laporte wants some sort of club championship, and I read that the Kiwis are even considering considering privately sponsored New Zealand tours for the sole purpose of making money.
I have seen a World Nations Championship proposed, which still seems to close the door for any country in Europe that wants to improve itself.
After the crisis, World Rugby must adopt a strategy for the rugby calendar
There are suggestions for an additional Six Nations in November, England has not ruled out traveling through Japan in October and it seems that there are still plans to try to complete Six Nations 2020.
Where does club rugby fit in? And that’s all for the Lions tour next summer.
We need a global strategy. World Rugby must now show leadership, talk to all parties and come up with a post-COVID-19 template.
GET GUS PICHOT BACK ON BOARD
The oldest tradition in our game is the shaking of hands and a pint between rivals at the end of the battle. Bill should consider asking Pichot to return in a certain capacity.
He has the ear and confidence of the Southern Hemisphere and many of the small countries.
Ask Gus to act as their main spokesperson or intermediary. We need his energy and passion.
Pichot should be asked to return in a certain capacity because of his energy and passion