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A departed board member is urging some caution be shown in trying to get rid of World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont.
Peter Kean, a former chief executive of Lion Nathan, who still had links to the South, ended his stint as an independent board member of New Zealand Rugby when he was replaced by Bart Campbell at this week’s NZR annual meeting.
Kean, who has been a board member for six years, said he fully supported the stance of NZR to support Beaumont’s rival, Agustin Pichot.
But Beaumont was a good man too, Kean said.
Beaumont, a former England captain, was backed by Bernard Laporte, a former French coach and union president.
Between them, England and France generated 70% of World Rugby’s revenue and Laporte was a key man who could help the game.
"I can understand why New Zealand has supported the southern hemisphere but I do hope we have kept on good terms with the northern hemisphere as well . . .World Rugby need New Zealand rugby, but it needs to be collaborative not combative."
Kean said he disappointed to not continue on the board. He had been chairman of the commercial committee of the board and also the rugby committee.
He felt a real link to the south, still lived in Cromwell, and had been the NZR representative on the Highlanders’ board.
A big issue for the national union was to get children playing and he said relations between the national body and secondary schools had improved over the past year.
Players had previously left to play other sports or dropped out, but he hoped that would not happen so often in the future. Removal of junior representative teams had helped that.
Kean said NZR was ready to go with a domestic based Super Rugby competition and was just waiting for Government direction.
The appointment of Ian Foster as All Blacks coach led to a lot of debate, Kean said, and he was a Jamie Joseph supporter.
He said 26 people contacted for the job included those who were only ever going to be assistants to the coach.
Joseph was first going to link with Foster but things changed all the time.
"But then Jamie was made an offer he couldn’t refuse with Japan. He has made the right decision and I support the decision he made."
Kean said Foster’s selection was the right decision and Foster had a good team around him.