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IRB chairmanship decision due

Bill Beaumont's bid to replace Bernard Lapasset as chairman of the International Rugby Board will finally go to the vote in Los Angeles on Monday.

The election for rugby's top administrator was due to have taken place in Auckland ahead of the World Cup final in October, but the meeting broke up in acrimony. A vote was taken to delay the election until Monday.

After some sustained lobbying in recent days the early indications are that Lapasset may just have the edge over Beaumont, the current vice-chairman, but the vote is expected to be tight.

Both men have a great deal on the line.

Lapasset has ambitions of becoming a member of the International Olympic Committee, having been instrumental in rugby's successful bid for a place in the 2016 Rio Games, which has led to increased funding for smaller nations.

Lapasset, who speaks three languages, has focused his policies on building upon that Olympic effect, by expanding rugby's reach and growing the game in new areas.

Beaumont's focus is top down, strengthening the core Tier One unions who generate the majority of the money. He is the quintessential rugby man against the rugby politician.

If Beaumont loses, he faces being voted off the IRB executive. Beaumont could stand again as vice-chairman but there are already two candidates for that role, in Graham Mourie from New Zealand and Oregon Hoskins from South Africa.

With both candidates for the chairmanship coming from Europe, the vote is not expected to be split along the north-south divide but on policy and which man delivers the best leadership for the IRB.

Beaumont is thought to have strong backing from the home unions and he could also be supported by New Zealand and Australia. Lapasset's power base is expected to come from France and Italy, but mainly the unions who would benefit more from global expansion.

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