Rugby participation in NSW hits all time high


12/12/2012





Nick Farr-Jones has welcomed the announcement of rugby’s record-breaking participation figures, saying New South Wales is well prepared to capitalise on an exciting new era in the code’s history.

Annual figures released by the Australian Rugby Union show that a record 323,115 Australians took part in rugby in 2012 (up 23.6 per cent on last year), with participation in NSW hitting an all time high of 114,350.

Said Farr-Jones, Chairman of New South Wales Rugby Union, “Our role is to promote the safe and enjoyable participation in all aspect of our game and at all levels.

“From the mums and dads to golden oldies, and juniors to match officials, these figures show that we continue to move in the right direction when it comes to promoting the values and opportunities for everyone that define our game, on and off the field.”

This is the fourth year running that NSW has recorded growth in participation figures, with the 12.4 per cent increase on 2011 levels exceeding the target set out in the NSWRU Strategic Plan.

With 37.4 per cent of the country’s participation taking place in NSW, the state still accounts for the largest proportion of the sport’s playing base, closely followed by Queensland (37.3 per cent).

Also encouraging was the spread of growth, with juniors (up 3.3 per cent to 21,135), seniors (up 3.8 per cent to 19,550), schools (up 18.2 per cent to 71,141) and sevens (up 122.6 per cent to 6252) all showing growth against 2011 figures.  Only participation among women (-3.1 per cent) and Golden Oldies (-7.3 per cent) were down against the previous 12 months.

Farr-Jones said the NSWRU would continue to work hard to capitalise on the opportunities presented by the arrival next year of the British & Irish Lions and the lead up to rugby sevens’ inclusion in the 2016 Olympics in Rio. 

“I got inspired by watching a documentary on the Wallabies tour to the UK and Ireland in 1980, that’s what lit a fire in my heart.  The Lions Tour only comes around once every 12 years and next year has the potential to inspire a new generation of young kids.

“Our role is to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to pull on a jersey – any jersey – and enjoy the game and everything that it stands for, whatever level they aspire to and in whatever capacity they participate.

“With the continued dedication of our development staff, our army of dedicated volunteers and match officials and the support and engagement  of our professional team, we are confident we can keep the momentum moving in the right direction as we approach an exciting year for rugby.”

NSWRU strategic priorities for 2013
:
•    Introducing more juniors to rugby through all r programs, driven by the NSW Primary School Sevens and sampling programs held in schools across the state
•    Improving the player experience by further developing education programs for coaches and match officials
•    Supporting irregular school competitions to extend rugby’s reach and introduce new participants to the game
•    Increased development activity targeted at schools surrounding local junior clubs



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