Bill Beaumont has been re-elected as chairman of World Rugby.

The 68-year-old fought off a challenge from his vice-chairman Agustin Pichot and will stay at the head of the governing body for the next four years.

"I am honoured to accept the mandate of the World Rugby Council to serve as the international federation's chairman once again and would like to thank my union and region colleagues, members of the global rugby family and, of course, my family for their full support," Beaumont said. 

"Now is not the time for celebration. We have work to do.

"We are tackling Covid-19 and must implement an appropriate return-to-rugby strategy that prioritises player welfare, while optimising any opportunity to return to international rugby this year in full collaboration with club competitions for the good of players, fans and the overall financial health of the sport."

Beaumont won with a slim 28-23 majority of the votes, World Rugby announced, while Bernard Laporte was voted in as the new vice-chairman. 

There was a sharp hemisphere divide evident among the support for both candidates. 

The southern hemisphere countries backed the challenger, while Beaumont maintained the support of the Six Nations countries.

Beaumont, who won 34 caps for England between 1975 and 1982, captaining them to the 1980 Grand Slam, has served as World Rugby chairman since 2016.

The vote had originally been scheduled for 12 May but both candidates agreed to bring it forward. 

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