A record number of people are playing rugby as the sport continues to grow worldwide and sevens rugby has played a big role in contributing towards the 800-million strong fans globally, says World Rugby in its review of the year 2018.
According to the global rugby body, some of the sevens events that highlighted 2018 were the second Youth Olympic games rugby sevens tournament in Buenos Aires won by Argentina (men) and New Zealand (women) and the World Cup Sevens held in San Francisco won by.
The sevens World Cup saw 100,000 fans attend the three-day event with nine million US fans tuning in with many watching rugby for the first time. This generated an increase in consumption of digital sevens content among the young people in emerging markets like the USA, China, India and Brazil growing the sport’s popularity globally.
World rugby said the sport’s unprecedented growth continued in 2018 with 9.6 million men, women and children playing the game around the world. Women’s participation had increased by 10 per cent compared to the previous year with 2.7 million accounting for more than a quarter of the total global playing population.
— World Rugby (@WorldRugby) July 10, 2019
On its website, World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “2018 was another special year for rugby as we watched the sport continuing to prosper and grow both on and off the field. Within a total playing population of 9.6 million it was fantastic to see our Get into Rugby programme – run in partnership with unions and regions – continue to break participation records with over two million girls and boys worldwide getting involved for the second year in a row amid a growing global interest of 800 million people.
“From a women’s rugby perspective, 2018 was a breakthrough year as we began implementation of our ground-breaking strategy to accelerate the development of women in rugby at all levels. Progress was evident with increased participation and engagement levels as well as in the governance of the sport, where we welcomed the first women onto the World Rugby Council. We will continue to strive for even greater parity in 2019.”
World Rugby confirmed that off the field player welfare remains its number one priority with its focus on evidence- based injury prevention at all levels of the sport. Alongside research, World Rugby’s training and education programmes remains core to its strategy, with more than 2,700 training courses delivered worldwide in 2018.
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