The numbers are in, and in 2014 Wairarapa Bush Rugby Union had 2,357 total number of players in recognised competitions.
Nationally, New Zealand Rugby has announced the highest ever number of registered players, at 150,564 today.
- 7% per cent more rugby players in the Wairarapa Bush Rugby Union
- Nationally registered players top 150,000
- Numbers of girls and women show significant growth
- Small Black and teenage player numbers remain strong
Wairarapa Bush Rugby Union Chief Executive Tony Hargood said the local figures showed rugby was as popular as ever with participation in the game increasing 7% in registered numbers. Junior rugby continues to grow and more pleasing was the referee numbers increased dramatically.
We also had 7 national representatives this year which on its own is a marvellous achievement for our union. The other highlight was the introduction of the Under 20 competition which drew some 90 players into the competition. Our local colleges performed well in their regional and local competitions and the club rugby saw only one default in the reserve competition this year compared to 17 not played in 2013.
Mr Tony Hargood said the contribution of the hundreds of referees, coaches, and volunteers meant anyone who wanted to play had the opportunity to do so.
We are looking at new initiatives for 2015 season around game management and will continue to keep safety aspects of the game at the forefront of our decisions.
We would like to thank the players, coaches, referees and volunteers for their contribution to help grow rugby in the region. They work tirelessly and we can never thank them enough.
New Zealand Rugby’s General Manager Community and Provincial Union Rugby Brent Anderson said the overall increase in the number of men, women and children playing rugby while small, was a significant milestone.
“To pass the 150,000 mark is a special achievement. We’ve also seen a 12 percent increase in female rugby players nationally which is fantastic, Small Blacks are up two percent and teenagers are up one percent.
In recent years we’ve made keeping teenagers and children in the game a priority and it’s paying off.
This year we’ve introduced the minimum playing time rule so all players under First XV level play at least half a game. Their feedback to us is they want to play and we’re doing all we can to give them the opportunity to do so.”
Rippa Rugby, a non-contact version of the game played by both boys and girls, is growing in popularity and encouraging young females to choose rugby.
“We’ll be launching a plan soon to grow rugby for girls and women and we have ambitious goals. We are developing more opportunities for teenagers and women to play in tournaments, increasing competition and skill levels. With Women’s Sevens in the Olympic Games in 2016 we’re expecting women’s rugby to become an increasing popular choice to play and watch,” Mr Anderson said.
For further information contact:
Wairarapa Bush Rugby Union