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Agustin Pichot’s game for a Fortnite-ly update on rugby’s future

AGUSTIN PICHOT wants to jolt World Rugby out of ‘copy-and-paste mode’ if he manages to unseat chairman Sir Bill Beaumont next month, with Fortnite one of his secret weapons.

Voting has already begun to determine whether former Argentina captain Pichot, 45, a voice for radical change, or England stalwart Beaumont, 68, receive a mandate to lead the game for the next four years on May 12.

Pichot, the current vice-chairman, is keen to further globalise rugby union and has a firm eye on future fans. He has talked of getting behind a new video game to grab the interest of younger generations and, far from being a flippant aside, he is sincere.

Fortnite is hugely popular among Pichot’s desired demographic and getting visibility on the platform appeals to his principles — even if there is more shooting than scrumming.

‘For the last 20 or 30 years we’ve been in copy-and-paste mode, doing the same things, and we have always been on the back foot,’ he said.

‘I want to change the mindset, everyone knows I used to play that way. The most important thing in a human being is his state of mind, to just challenge, to get out of my comfort zone.

‘A computer game now is going to be (too) old probably, if you think how kids are interacting. Maybe it’s a part of Fortnite; maybe you have a warrior that is dressed with the RFU rose and he combats an All Black. Or it is a genuine computer game as well, a company who want to do the same as they did with NFL Madden or with Fifa.

‘(We) fall in love with sports between eight and 15, that is like your first love. Even before you like a girl or a boy you are just in love with your sport. We are missing a chance to get into young adults and kids all over the world.’

On his wider hopes for the game, Pichot suggested the current pause in action due to coronavirus should be harnessed to affect change.

‘We need to reset the bigger picture. This virus will not allow us to carry on in the same way. It is a moment to integrate everyone and see how they can work together,’ he added.

For 30 years we’ve been in copy-and-paste mode. I want to change the mindset