Agustin Pichot urges conservative Six Nations to embrace expansion

Georgia celebrate after defeating Tonga at the 2015 Rugby World Cup. AFP PHOTO / BERTRAND LANGLOIS

World Rugby vice-chairman Agustin Pichot wants Georgia and other tier two nations to be given the chance to participate in the Six Nations Championship.

The former Argentina captain believes those making the decisions on expansion, or lack of, need to give those countries a chance to participate and in doing so, grow the game.

"I'm sure it will touch a lot of nerves but I would urge the Six Nations to give other countries a chance,' Pichot told the Daily Mail. "They don't want a threat to the status quo. It's been the same for years.

"We now have more fixtures for tier-two nations but that's not enough. It would be great to have promotion and relegation. If we don't challenge the status quo then rugby won't grow and it will be stuck in Anglo-Saxon ways.

"I would urge John Feehan to visit Georgia, but it's not just about paying lip service to tick the box. They need to give it serious thought. Bill Beaumount would support it, too. Maybe I won't be here in three years, but I will keep pushing."

In the past 10 years, outside of World Cup competition, Georgia have only faced tier one nations on three occasions; Scotland (2016), Ireland (2014), Argentina (2013). If you go beyond that, the stats are even more grim.

The fact that the Six Nations is run independent from World Rugby bewilders Pichot as he called for countries to help grow the game outside of the Six Nations and Rugby Championship competitions.

"I don't know how they created their own entity with no attachment to World Rugby. There needs to be more working together to take care of the global game. There are not just 10 teams in the world: the Six Nations and the Rugby Championship nations. It's not right.

"It would be the best thing for rugby for countries like Georgia to have a chance. World Rugby will support them. The Six Nations are very conservative. It was a very similar situation with Argentina. Nations need to realise that we must grow the game."