128 member unions
(+11 since 2009)
9.6m people play rugby globally
(up from 3.7m in 2009)
28% of global players are women
877m global rugby followers
(up 30% since 2013)
Most successful men’s and women’s Rugby World Cups and first in an emerging market
Rugby sevens returned to the Olympic Games
32% increase in interest in emerging rugby nations and two-thirds see the game as more exciting
Player welfare advances successfully implemented including concussion prevention strategies and injury prevention programmes
Governance and decision-making structures modernised, advancing gender, nation and player inclusion
Player welfare standards adopted by all elite competitions
Exponential growth of accredited medics, coaches and trainers globally
RWC 2019 delivers 60% surplus of 2015 event for reinvestment in the game
World Rugby high-performance investment increases global competitiveness, including at Rugby World Cups
Sevens cemented within the Olympic Games programme after Rio debut
World Rugby governance review implemented
Act with conviction and purpose, confronting the challenges we face, and continue to take every opportunity to advance the welfare of our players.
Be alive to the wider challenges facing society and the role we can play. We need to celebrate and promote diversity within rugby and society as a whole.
Play our part in supporting people and communities as they recover from this pandemic and support action to address climate change and make sport more sustainable.
The foundations built over the last decade mean rugby is in a strong place as we look forward to the next decade and the challenges ahead.
Sir Bill Beaumont
World Rugby Chairman
“We are proud to launch our Strategic Plan 2021-2025. As World Rugby Chair, a former player, father of three rugby playing sons, and a fan, I am passionate about our sport at all levels and this strategy will take rugby forward, united behind a plan that serves the whole game."
"From community and professional club rugby, to unions, regions, commercial partners and fans, everyone has their say and part to play. Against a challenging societal and sporting backdrop, it will guide us as we work together to recover from the impacts of COVID-19 and grow the game we all love."
“Our game-changing targets aim to grow global participation, increase fan engagement and support our players, current, future and past - whose welfare continues to be our number one priority, transcending all we do. Importantly, the plan reflects our ambition for rugby to be progressive and tackle key societal issues. To bring people together and get them active in a safe and welcoming environment where everyone has equal opportunity to participate.”