- Nearly two million girls and boys, including 144,700 in the Rugby Americas North (RAN) region, participated in Get Into Rugby in 2016
- 8.5 million men, women and children, of which 1,756,334 are in RAN, now playing the game worldwide
- Women and girls account for more than a quarter of all global players, with 39 per cent of Get Into Rugby participants in 2016 female, rising to 46 per cent in RAN
Close to two million (1,990,300) girls and boys in 129 nations took part in World Rugby’s mass participation programme, Get Into Rugby, in 2016, almost double the number of participants than in 2015.
The success of the grassroots scheme continues to drive the growth of the sport globally, with 8.5 million men, women and children now playing the game worldwide, according to the World Rugby Year in Review 2016.
2016 was a landmark year for World Rugby, with the sport’s return to the Olympic programme at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games contributing to its huge growth and continued popularity worldwide. Get Into Rugby plays a vital role in that growth by opening up the sport up to more countries and more people than ever before. In RAN, 144,700 participated in Get Into Rugby programmes across 17 different countries.
Globally, in nine countries, the number of girls participating outnumbers boys. This growth is set to continue under the leadership of World Rugby’s new General Manager of Women’s Rugby Katie Sadleir, who is overseeing the development of a landmark new strategy to further boost women’s rugby.
Ten new countries adopted the programme in 2016 – Guatemala, Morocco, Luxembourg, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Anguilla, Macau, Ethiopia and Bolivia – which globally saw more than 30,000 trained personnel deliver activities in 129 countries across 2,250 locations.
In addition to the Get Into Rugby programme, 85 unions, supported by the six regional associations, organised over 200 events attended by more than 60,000 participants as part of World Rugby’s Impact Beyond Rio 2016 project, which encouraged unions to organise activities to coincide with the Olympic Games to promote rugby and attract new players and fans.
Further key growth figures from the World Rugby Year in Review 2016 report include:
- 8.5 million men, women and children now playing the game in World Rugby member unions – an increase of eight per cent from 2015
- 2.2 million women and girls accounting for more than a quarter of players in World Rugby member unions – this is an increase of 142 per cent in the past five years
- The addition of two new member unions (Guatemala and Slovakia) bringing the total number of affiliated nations to 121 – 103 full members and 18 associate members
- 300 million fans worldwide – an increase of 50 million new fans over the past 12 months thanks in part to a record-breaking Rugby World Cup 2015 and rugby’s return to the Olympic Games at Rio 2016
- 4.7 million new users on World Rugby sites over the course of 2016 and 900,000 new fans on World Rugby social media platforms
World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said: “2016 was a fantastic year for World Rugby in more ways than one. Firstly, we saw rugby’s successful return to the Olympic Games with the world’s best sevens players lighting up Rio 2016 with a riveting display of passion and skill. This helped set the stage for our development programmes, Get Into Rugby and Impact Beyond, which successfully harnessed the momentum of the Games to deliver real engagement and significant growth.
“Rugby Americas North has been key to this growth, with 144,700 participating in Get Into Rugby, across 17 countries in 2016. Encouragingly, at 46 per cent, the percentage of girls taking part was greater than in any other region.
“Globally with 8.5 million people playing and enjoying rugby across the world, the game continues to go from strength to strength. Get Into Rugby, with nearly two million participants in 2016, is evidence of how our vibrant, values-driven sport is reaching out and engaging new players and fans worldwide. Particularly pleasing is the significant uplift in female participation. With 39 per cent of all Get Into Rugby participants and 2.2 million registered female players worldwide, rugby continues to set the pace as one of the fastest growing women’s team sports in the world.”
Get Into Rugby is World Rugby’s mass participation programme which aims to encourage players of all ages to Try, Play and Stay in rugby. The programme promotes the values of the game and allows children to experience rugby in a safe and progressive environment. Launched in 2012, almost two million participants were involved in Get Into Rugby activities in 2016 across 129 active unions, 39 per cent of which were female.
The new Get Into Rugby website – getintorugby.worldrugby.org – is now available in 15 languages: English, French, Spanish, Chinese, Brazilian, Portuguese, Arabic, Indonesian, Japanese, Dutch, German, Polish, Romanian, Hungarian, Korean and Russian.