Sir Clive Woodward condemns Samoa for backing Beaumont

Former England and British and Irish Lions coach, Sir Clive Woodward, has condemned Samoa for helping to elect Sir Bill Beaumont as World Rugby Chairman.

It has been widely reported that the Samoa Rugby Union’s vote went to Beaumont, contributing to a victory by an unofficial margin of 28-23 over challenger Agustín Pichot.

In his column for the Mail on Sunday, Woodward was surprised that Tier Two nations Samoa, Fiji, Japan and Canada cast their votes for the incumbent Beaumont and the status quo.

“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,” Woodward said.

“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.”

Those views were shared by New Zealand sports broadcaster Martin Devlin, who said he couldn’t believe the decision of the island unions during his Newstalk ZB programme on Sunday.

“Shame on you Fiji and Samoa,” he said.

“Why on earth do you want to keep what’s going on right now? Why would you not want change? Why would you vote for them unless something is being promised somewhere by someone?”

Devlin said the only reason for such a decision would be a “secret handshake”:

“What other reason could there possibly be for the islands wanting to preserve the status quo of World Rugby? Explain that to me ‘cause I just don't get it.”

On social media platform Twitter, Sky Sport NZ rugby content producer Ross Karl asked a similar question:

“Can anyone tell me why Fiji and Samoa voted for Beaumont, when Pichot seemed to have their best interests at heart? #worldrugby #sameoldsameold”

Manusina lock and commentator Taylah Hodson-Tomokino’s reply expressed her disbelief:

“I cannot even begin to fathom why Samoa votes this way. Incredibly disappointed and it’s clear they don’t have the good of the game in the pacific at heart, only the leaderships pockets.”

Rugby broadcaster and journalist Scotty Stevenson chimed in with his thoughts as to why Fiji and Samoa opted for Beaumont:

“1. look at the leadership of the respective unions.
2. Then ask yourself, despite the rhetoric, at what point has SANZAAR done enough to embrace them here?
 Possibly because of 1.”

A similar sentiment was shared by former Manu Samoa lock Daniel Leo:

“Similar to Brexit I feel- working class fed up being ignored by ruling class...Island unions deciding to vote against oppressive SANZAAR to make a statement even if it hurts them in long run. Only my opinion.”

And his former international halfback Tino Junior Poluleuligaga also intimated that Southern Hemisphere powers South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and Argentina hadn’t done enough for the islands over the years to retain their backing:

“Disappointed but was a expecting a surprise. You'd think all the SH nations would vote for the same guy. All I can say is that if there was a PI team in Super or the Rugby Championship then maybe things could of been different. Left it too late”

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