Sir Clive Woodward believes a massive opportunity to take the game forward has been wasted after Bill Beaumont beat Agustin Pichot to be re-elected as World Rugby chairman.
Despite winning 28-23, race came down to who Italy gave their three votes to the former England captain.
“Extraordinarily, under the perverse voting system, Italy have three votes while Fiji and Samoa have only one apiece and Tonga none whatsoever,” wrote Woodward in his column for the Mail Online.
“I would simply ask you — who makes the greater contribution to world rugby?
“In fact, if only one of the Six Nations — with three votes apiece — had broken rank, Pichot would have won. It tells you everything about the current state of rugby governance that only one of those nations — Wales — will admit to have even engaged with Pichot and discussed his plans and proposals. That really is shameful.
“I am not going to let some of the smaller nations off the hook altogether, either. World Rugby have so far declined to give the voting breakdown but we hear that Fiji, Samoa and Canada voted for Bill Beaumont, as did Japan.
“If that is the case, our sympathy will be limited if those nations utter a word of complaint ever again at the lack of opportunity to play T1 nations or, in the case of the Pacific Island teams, about their best players being nicked by other countries.
“Or being left virtually penniless when they play the likes of England in front of 80,000 at Twickenham — matches that gross in excess of £14million for the RFU. Players in those countries should be outraged and asking why their unions did not vote for change.”
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He added: “Finally, though, I would emphasise again the closeness of the vote. This was a massive wake-up call to the world governing body and if they’re wise they’ll take it on board.
“The gauntlet has been thrown down and well done to Pichot for showing the guts to try the impossible — even though he has been badly let down by so many countries playing politics.
“I wanted to wake up this morning with rugby energised about the future, a brave new world if you like, but instead it feels like same old, same old. We will have forgotten about the vote soon. “
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