Pichot wants to put Lions on global stage

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London (AFP)

Agustin Pichot, who is campaigning for the role of World Rugby chairman, wants to see the British and Irish Lions expand their horizons and play on a "worldwide scale".

The Lions, a combined side made up of players from the national teams of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, tour every four years, visiting New Zealand, Australia and South Africa on a rotation.

But Argentina great Pichot, who is standing against current World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont, a former captain of both England and the Lions, wants them to tour North and South America as part of his plan for reform of the global game.

With rugby in a worldwide shutdown due to the coronavirus, Pichot has often been presented as the "reform" candidate, with Beaumont seen as more of a continuity figure.

But former Pumas scrum-half Pichot told the Daily Mail: "People think I don't like tradition, but I speak to Lions players like Brian O'Driscoll and it's a great product.

"I love it. There is still room for the Lions. It is a traditional thing but we can still add a modern look to it."

The 45-year-old added: "I would use the Lions on a more worldwide scale. I would like to see that brand travel even further.

"They would be very popular in North and South America but that's a conversation to have with the CEO of the Lions."

Although they have never toured the Americas, the Lions have faced Argentina, drawing 25-25 with the Pumas in Cardiff in a warm-up match ahead of their 2005 series in New Zealand.

Pichot, currently the vice-chairman of World Rugby, said he was disappointed by the lack of responses he had received from many of the Six Nations unions, all of whom have three votes each, as the election campaign enters its final week.

"I would like to talk to each individual union," said Pichot. "I sent a personal note to every country and I haven't had any replies from some of the CEOs.

"I only received one email asking me about the future of the game from the Six Nations unions -- that was Wales -- and I think that's poor.

"Every CEO should be responsible for learning what is best for the game, even if they don't support you."

An election by electronic ballot is due on April 26, with the results announced on May 12.