In the latest issue of Rugby World, we rank rugby’s powerbrokers


In Rugby World’s September issue, we have compiled the ultimate list of rugby’s movers and shakers – and we have named Agustin Pichot as the most influential person in rugby.

The former Argentina scrum-half and newly-appointed World Rugby vice-chairman tops our list of the 50 most influential people in the sport.

Pichot has already helped Argentina secure entry to the Rugby Championship and Super Rugby competitions, as well as play a part in restoring the sport to the Olympics after a 92-year hiatus. He’s wasted no time putting rugby’s residency rules high on the agenda and is set to be a driving force behind shaping a global season.

As renowned rugby journalist Stephen Jones writes in our September issue: “It is possible to tower over Gus Pichot and still feel in awe of him. He is now without doubt the best administrator produced by a non-foundation union of all time.”

Bill Beaumont and Agustin Pichot

Powerful pair: Bill Beaumont and Agustin Pichot are both in Rugby World’s top four. Photo: Inpho

England’s 2016 renaissance is reflected by Eddie Jones securing second spot on the list. The straight-talking Australian has led England to a Six Nations Grand Slam, a first series whitewash of Australia on home soil and an unbeaten nine-game run to push them to No 2 in the world rankings.

World Cup-winning coach Steve Hansen, who has just extended his contract with the All Blacks to 2019, is close behind, while new World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont is in fourth place. The former England captain is a respected statesman in the world game and exudes rugby’s values.

The Top 14’s growing financial influence as the richest league in the world makes it a honey pot for the game’s superstars, so its chief Paul Goze is highly placed. The top-ranked player in the list is Dan Carter, the world’s top point-scorer and a poster boy for the sport for a decade.

Dan Carter

Lovely bubbly: Dan Carter is the highest ranked player on the list. Photo: Inpho

Politics is never far from the surface in sport and South African Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula has exerted his power by dictating Springbok selection policy through the country’s transformation laws, even banning the governing body from bidding for the 2023 Rugby World Cup for not complying quickly enough.

Closer to home, Mark McCafferty, Premiership Rugby’s chief executive, and No 1 on the list in 2014, is eighth. Fresh from a £200m+ deal with the RFU and emboldened by BT Sport’s lucrative contract, McCafferty has put the English league into an enviable financial position and driven it to new frontiers.

The only other player to join Carter in the top 10 is David Pocock, the Wallaby loose forward. For many, Pocock was the player of the World Cup and his principles on human rights matters set him as a man apart in a team game.

David Pocock

Wallaby wonder: Australia’s David Pocock in action during last year’s World Cup. Photo: Inpho

Returning to England after a decade in the US is former scrum-half Nigel Melville, who has a wide-ranging role for the game’s biggest and richest union, the RFU.

Rugby World editor Owain Jones said compiling the list was an exhaustive process. “We canvassed the opinions of the game’s most informed journalists from all corners of the globe before putting together a panel to debate the merits of those put forward. That panel included RPA chairman Christian Day and former England fly-half Rob Andrew. We are in no doubt that our list, which runs extensively over 36 pages, is essential reading for any rugby fan interested in how our game is shaped.”

Here’s the top ten of Rugby World’s Most Influential People in Rugby…

  1. Agustin Pichot
  2. Eddie Jones
  3. Steve Hansen
  4. Bill Beaumont
  5. Paul Goze
  6. Dan Carter
  7. Fikile Mbalula
  8. Mark McCafferty
  9. David Pocock
  10. Nigel Melville

For the full list of 50, see Rugby World’s September issue – on sale tomorrow.

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