The Italian Rugby Federation has publicly announced its support for Bill Beaumont in his bid for re-election of chairman of World Rugby.
The 68-year-old Beaumont is already guaranteed the support of the French Rugby Federation and England’s Rugby Football Union and he now has the backing of Italy as well.
‘Bill Beaumont gave an unbelievable contribution to the game during his first term,’ Italian rugby boss Alfredo Gavazzi said.
‘The Federation of Italian Rugby will be granting him its votes and support as he seeks re-election at the annual council meeting later in May.’
Should he get the backing of all the Six Nations unions, Beaumont would have the required 18 out of the 26 votes to remain in the top job. The ballot takes place at a council meeting on 12 May.
Beaumont is up against current World Rugby vice-chairman Agustin Pichot, who confirmed this week he would be running for the top job. He has the support of Argentina, Australia and Sudamerica Rugby.
While Pichot is running alone, Beaumont is joined on his ticket by Frenchman Bernard Laporte, who has been endorsed as vice-chairman by the RFU and Romania.
Beaumont is also guaranteed the support of Fiji, who seconded his nomination, while the public intervention of the Italians further strengthens his hand.
The unions of the Six Nations and Rugby Championship (Australia, Argentina, New Zealand, South Africa) all have three votes each out of a total of 51.