• Montenegro joins World Rugby family, Jordan achieves full members status, Morocco reinstated as full member
  • The family of national unions in World Rugby membership expands to 133 following Council meeting on 9 May
  • A full member of Rugby Europe since 2021, Montenegro’s rise on the world stage has been rapid
  • Jordan, a World Rugby associate member since 2020, has now achieved full member status
  • Rugby’s global growth continues to be driven by the women’s game and rugby sevens in emerging nations

The family of national unions in World Rugby membership has expanded to 133 after Montenegro were unanimously welcomed by the international federation’s Council, having achieved all necessary criteria.

A full member of Rugby Europe since 2021, Montenegro’s rise on the world stage has been rapid. The Union was founded in 2011 and became a Rugby Europe Member in 2013, participating in the regional association’s men’s and women’s competitions.

Led by President Zorica Kostić, former captain of the national women's team, the Union’s seven registered clubs compete in various categories and disciplines including tag, touch, sevens, 10s, 15s and beach rugby.

Meanwhile, Jordan has achieved full member status, having met all the necessary governance and competition criteria. An associate member of World Rugby since 2020, Jordan has been active within Asia Rugby’s competition structures since 2008.

Jordan has a thriving women’s game and the men’s team made their international 15s debut in 2010. Jordan also holds the record for the lowest-ever rugby match, played at 400 metres below sea level.

Having been reinstated as an associate member of World Rugby in October 2023, Morocco has been welcomed back to full member status having achieved all the necessary good governance criteria after a period of restructuring.

World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “We are delighted to welcome the Montenegro Rugby Union to the World Rugby family and congratulate both Jordan and Morocco on their full member status.

“We are determined to continue to spread rugby’s unique values and social and physical health benefits to all corners of the globe. It is fantastic to see World Rugby’s membership expand to 133 countries across all six regions as the global game for all continues to grow and diversify, powered in particular by increases in women’s rugby and rugby sevens participation and fan engagement across the world.”

Zorica Kostić, Montenegro Rugby Union President said: "We are honored and thrilled to become a member of World Rugby. This milestone marks a new chapter for Montenegrin rugby, providing us with greater opportunities to grow and develop the sport in our country. Our inclusion in the global rugby community reflects the hard work and dedication of everyone involved in our rugby union. We look forward to building strong partnerships and contributing to the rugby family worldwide."

Alex Liddel, Montenegro Men's XV Head Coach said: "Simply put, rugby means everything to me. Rugby has been a centre part of my life for many years, I love it. Its values and its worldwide community set it apart from any other sport.

“Rugby has allowed me to travel to various countries and to build strong lifelong connections with people from around the world. Rugby taught me how to believe in myself and how to overcome obstacles, whilst helping me to learn valuable life lessons about team work, discipline and trust. I am now lucky enough to be able to help teach rugby in new countries and communities and see first hand how rugby can change lives."

Boris Mijušković, Montenegro Men's Rugby XV Captain said: "To me, rugby mirrors life in a beautiful way. Everything we experience off the field reflects on the pitch, showing life's ups and downs and all the things in between. It's a part of me, it's embedded in me, in other words - I cannot imagine my life without it. And wearing your country's colors? That's something truly special."

Feisal Al Sadoun, Chairman of Jordan Rugby said: “Today marks a historic milestone for Jordan Rugby as we proudly step onto the global stage as full members of World Rugby. From our humble beginnings of a small group of mainly expatriates training on rocky fields or tennis courts to this significant achievement, it's a testament to the dedication of our players and the passion of our rugby community. Harnessing the Jordanian people’s innate passion for competition and physicality in sports, we've cultivated a rugby culture that embodies our nation's spirit and resilience.”

Koki Hamouqa, Director of Rugby and Performance, Jordan Rugby said: "World Rugby’s recognition gives us renewed energy and purpose. Our national teams are now better positioned than ever to compete and excel on the international stage. Our mission is clear – to empower our athletes and build a culture of excellence that reflects the spirit of Jordanian rugby.”