Friday 01 June 2018


Record numbers Get Into Rugbyin 2017

·        9.1 million players globally, more than a quarter women and girls

·        Over two million girls and boys participated in Get Into Rugby in 2017

·        Rugby Europe records 23 per cent increase in Get Into Rugby regional participation


A record number of girls and boys were introduced to rugby in 2017, according to the World Rugby Year in Review 2017 released today, as the sport continues its unprecedented growth with 9.1 million men, women and children playing the sport in World Rugby member unions worldwide.

With rugby now played in more countries around the world than ever before, World Rugby’s development programme Get Into Rugby has been a major catalyst behind the global rise in participation numbers, acting as a gateway for young people to try, play and stay in rugby. In 2017, more than two million (2,139,300) girls and boys across 133 active unions took part in the programme, an increase of 7.5 per cent compared to 2016.

Across Rugby Europe, 479,500 girls and boys took part in Get Into Rugby activities in 2017, an increase of 23 per cent on the previous year, marking the biggest percentage growth in participation of any region. In Germany alone, 52,063 participated in the Get Into Rugby programme, a record 785 per cent increase compared to 2016 as the country continues to embrace the fast-growing, values-driven game.

Elsewhere, Rugby Europe saw a number of players who had previously passed through the programme grace the international stage in 2017, including members of the Hungary and Malta U18s boys’ teams. Off the field, the I Also Play Referee project, which introduces young people to refereeing and first piloted in Africa, has now been launched in Belgium, and across the region, Rugby Europe oversaw more than 1,000 additional training and education sessions to support the development of the game.

Pleasingly, in a Women’s Rugby World Cup year, 39 per cent of all Get Into Rugby participants worldwide were female as World Rugby continues to prioritise the acceleration of the women’s game through its landmark 2017-25 Women’s Plan. Successfully hosted by Ireland, the eighth Women’s Rugby World Cup helped to take the game to the next level. With record attendance, viewing and social engagement figures WRWC 2017 set new standards for the tournament and extended the reach of the game around the world.In total 2.4 million women and girls are now playing rugby at all levels, accounting for more than a quarter (26 per cent) of players globally and an increase in player numbers of 60 per cent since 2013.  

The latest figures further demonstrate the youth appeal of a sport that is increasingly attracting new players and fans due to its character-building and inclusive values. Coupled with record growth of its fan base to 338 million worldwide and a social media following of eight million across all World Rugby social and digital platforms, 2017 has been a ground-breaking year. And with more than US$1 million earmarked for rugby projects in more than 40 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) in this first year of new Olympic Solidarity cycle, almost matching in one year the results over four years of the previous cycle, this growth looks set to continue.

World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said: “Rugby continued to grow across Rugby Europe in 2017 as more and more girls and boys took part in Get Into Rugby, resulting in the biggest percentage increase in participation of all regions globally. It was also fantastic to see some of those who have previously passed through the Get Into Rugby system reaching the highest level and representing their country during the year.

Particularly pleasing is the level of female participation both in Get Into Rugby and overall after Ireland so successfully hosted last year’s record-breaking Women’s Rugby World Cup. Thirty-nine per cent of Get Into Rugby participants in 2017 were female, and there is now more than 2.4 million registered female players worldwide.”  

Get Into Rugby promotes the character-building values of the game and allows children to experience rugby in a safe and progressive environment. Launched in 2013, a total of 5,948,556 participants have progressed through the programme.

The dedicated Get Into Rugbywebsite – – is now available in 15 languages: English, French, Spanish, Chinese, Brazilian, Portuguese, Arabic, Indonesian, Japanese, Dutch, German, Polish, Romanian, Hungarian, Korean and Russian.